Making Health Care Prices More Transparent in North Dakota
The high and rising cost of health care remains a persistent problem across America, and North Dakota is no exception. Hidden health care pricing is a key contributor to this escalating cost problem. Upfront pricing information is essential to an efficient and competitive market. Yet, prices are hidden from patients because health care is largely financed through third party health plans. They negotiate prices with hospitals and doctors and keep the price secret, claiming it is proprietary and confidential business information.
Fortunately, new federal rules require hospitals and private health plans to finally disclose the prices for each health care item and service they negotiate. These federal rules are historic steps that will upend the status quo and finally ensure access to pricing information patients need before they receive care. Unfortunately, hospitals have been slow to comply with the federal rule and taken advantage of loopholes to limit transparency. To strengthen the federal rule, this brief outlines several steps North Dakota should take to enact a higher level of transparency.