The threat of financial ruin from surprise medical bills makes the hospital a scary place in more ways than one (Surprise Medical Bills, Nov. 24). According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of Americans worry about being able to afford unexpected medical bills.

The author calls on federal lawmakers to pass proposed legislation to address the surprise billing scourge. But patients don’t need to wait for a divided Congress to act. The Trump administration recently issued a final rule requiring hospitals to publish their secret cash and negotiated prices for health care services. According to Vanderbilt University economist Larry Van Horn, cash prices are nearly 40 percent less than insurers’ negotiated rates.

This rule will not only give patients peace of mind that a trip to the hospital won’t result in financial ruin but also allow them to price shop, putting downward pressure on health care costs. Innovative employers such as H.B. Global in Harrisburg are already contracting with a growing number of price transparent providers like OSS Health and saving 30 to 50 percent on their employees’ health care costs. Employees receive care with no copays or deductibles and often cash bonuses as a share in the savings.

Unfortunately, big hospitals are ferociously fighting this rule to maintain the opaque status quo that allows them to earn massive profits. Readers can go to PatientRightsAdvocate.org to submit comments to the Trump administration explaining why transparent health care prices are important to them.

 

Cynthia Fisher,

Native of Selinsgrove

Founder & chairman of

PatientRightsAdvocate.org

 

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