In a passage that will become an American landmark decision in healthcare, the Transparency in Coverage Rule, taking effect January 2021, will provide something the modern American has never had-- the ability to understand and weigh the prices of medical services. In a nation where patients are often blindsided by hefty costs without knowledge of where their money is allocated, the Transparency in Coverage Rule provides remedy by giving the consumer information and choices in their treatment.
Businesswoman and patient’s rights activist Cynthia Fisher, who encouraged the Rule’s passage, has spoken out about its groundbreaking features in an interview with NPR’s Weekend Edition (Simon, 2021). “The American consumers won in the courts.” she says. “No more will we have those surprise bills.” Hospitals will now be required to post detailed descriptions of the prices of their services and procedures. The consumer will then be able to compare different prices of the same service at different facilities-- allowing them to ultimately weigh the most affordable and dependable choice. For procedures such as surgeries, which can range in differences of tens of thousands of dollars from hospital to hospital, the consumer now has a choice-- allowing lower-income individuals to receive the services they need without substantial financial fear.
Competition between hospitals will diversify prices-- allowing the consumer to weigh what is in their best interest. Although the Rule does not characterize an effort to ensure American healthcare is as cost-effective as possible by driving down all prices, it does promise them something that they haven’t had for centuries-- a choice.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020, October 29). Transparency in Coverage Final Rule Fact Sheet (CMS-9915-F). CMS.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2021, from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/transparency-coverage-final-rule-fact-sheet-cms-9915-f
Simon, S. (2021, January 2). The New Year Will Bring More Transparency In Hospital Prices. NPR. Retrieved January 3, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2021/01/02/952806795/the-new-year-will-bring-more-transparency-in-hospital-prices