Trump administration proposes requiring hospitals to publish the prices negotiated with insurers

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House en route West Virginia in Washington, July 24, 2019.

Mary F. Calvert | Reuters

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would require hospitals to publish the prices that are negotiated with insurers, or risk being fined.

The proposed rule, announced Monday, would apply to the roughly 6,000 hospitals that accept Medicare. Hospitals could be fined up to $300 a day if the standard and negotiated prices for services are not posted online. Hospitals that fail to comply could be fined up to $300 a day.

The public comment period will be open until the end of September. If finalized, the rule would take effect in January.

President Donald Trump has made lowering health-care costs one of his key priorities. Hospitals and insurers are sure to fight the proposed rule. These companies have already criticized Trump’s executive order requiring hospitals and insurers to disclose negotiated rates for services, saying transparency could actually increase prices.

But the administration argues forcing companies to disclose the negotiated rates can empower patients. As part of the proposal, the administration would require hospitals to publish insurer-specific prices for at least 300 “shoppable services” consumers might consider for beforehand, such as X-rays or lab tests. 

The administration is also seeking comment on what other information would be useful to consumers, such as the median negotiated rates for various health services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said on a call with reporters. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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