The California Report: California Gets an ‘F’ for Health Care Price Transparency

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California — and 44 other states — received failing grades in a new analysis on transparency of health care prices. The report comes from Berkeley-based Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), and it shows that consumers remain pretty much in the dark if they want to figure out, in advance, what a treatment or procedure will cost.

“Very few states have done anything meaningful to help consumers understand what their health care costs were going to be,” said Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of the organization.

CPR looked primarily at laws and regulations around price transparency, as well as whether a state had a consumer-facing website where people could easily look up price information.

While California has taken “important symbolic steps” by passing price transparency laws, Delbanco said, “what hasn’t happened is turning that information into something that’s useful to consumers.”

The state’s Office of Statewide Planning and Development does compile information — but it’s based on the amount charged, as opposed to the amount that’s actually paid by insurance companies or a consumer. In health care, there’s almost always a discount off the “charge” price, so that original amount is virtually meaningless to consumers.

 

Continue reading here: http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2014/03/25/california-gets-an-f-for-health-care-price-transparency/

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