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NY Times probe reveals huge cost disparities for same service

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 27, 2021
Business Affairs Insurance

Four groups, including AHA, unsuccessfully tried to block the rule, saying it would violate their First Amendment rights by disclosing proprietary information. A lower court and appeals court ruled against them and the law took effect in January 2021.

As of July, only 5% of hospitals were found to be complying with the rule, according to a survey by nonprofit PatientRightsAdvocate.org. And those that do publish the information often do so in hard-to-read formats designed for data scientists and professional researchers, according to the Times. None of the 10 highest-revenue hospitals in the U.S. were found in its investigation to be in compliance.

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Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association — the largest U.S. insurers — all declined to comment, with only three saying they support price transparency.

CMS warned hospitals in May that they must comply with the new rule and told The Times that it plans to increase fines next year to as much as $2 million annually for large hospitals.

The rule will also apply to health insurers starting in January 2021. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is challenging this in court.

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