Many hospitals around the country have started sharing their prices online in compliance with a recent federal rule.
Price variations are supposed to be available in stark black and white under a Trump administration price transparency rule that took effect at the start of this year. It requires hospitals to post a range of actual prices — everything from the rates they offer cash-paying customers to costs negotiated with insurers.
Many have complied, however, some hospitals bury the data deep on their websites or have not included all the categories of prices required, according to industry analysts. A sizable minority of hospitals have not disclosed the information at all.
While imperfect and potentially of limited use right now to the average consumer, the disclosures that are available illustrate the huge differences in prices — nationally, regionally and within the same hospital. But they’re challenging for consumers and employers to use, giving a boost to a cottage industry that analyzes the data.
Will price transparency will lead to overall lower prices? Kaiser Health News took a dive into the initial trove of data to see what it reveals.
Here are some top takeaways from the newly public data and tips for how you might be able to use it to your benefit.