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Are hospital price lists helping patients understand treatment costs?

In 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started requiring hospitals to publish price lists online, but a year later, these lists don’t seem to be as helpful to patients as intended.

Under the CMA mandate, hospitals were obligated to post a list of 300 “shoppable” services and outline their procedure and treatment charges, according to the Albany Times-Union. Of those services, 70 were required by CMS and hospitals could choose the other 230 at their discretion.


The problem? These lists are far from comprehensive and navigating them can be confusing. What’s more, prices differ based on patients’ insurance plans.

Another issue is that hospitals provide services from other entities, meaning patients might receive a service in a certain hospital, but the bill will be from a third party. Price lists would be useless in this case.

Hospitals across New York are hoping to work with CMS to make price lists more helpful to patients. Insurance companies will be subjected to similar price transparency rules from CMS starting in July 2022.



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