Health care consumer price transparency bill headed to House Floor

Monday, April 2, 2018

Visitors in Minnesota doctors’ office waiting rooms may have something to read other than years-old magazines: posters with the prices for procedures, itemized by insurance type.

HF3893 would mandate that health care providers post a list of the 25 most common procedures, and the out-of-pocket prices for the procedure. The list would need to include the average reimbursement the provider would receive for each procedure from private insurance plans or Medicare and the Medical Assistance fee-for-service payment rate. The bill would require providers to post the list on their website, as well as a physical list in the reception area of their office.

 

The House Health and Human Services Reform Committee approved the bill Thursday and sent it to the House Floor. Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) is the sponsor.

The bill also contains a new requirement for health insurance companies.

State law already requires they tell an enrollee how much of a procedure’s cost their insurance will cover, and how much the enrollee will have to pay themselves. The bill would require insurers to send that estimate within 10 days of an enrollee requesting it. A similar 10-day notification requirement for health care providers is also in the bill.

Bentley Graves, director of health care and transportation policy with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that health insurance plans in Minnesota have higher deductibles compared to other states. The bill would help patients figure out paying for care, he said.

Mary Krinkie, vice president of government relations for the Minnesota Hospital Association, gave a more tepid endorsement.

“This is not a bad bill,” she said.

Krinkie said it wouldn’t be very helpful to consumers because the services people shop around for are expensive and planned — such as colonoscopies. However, the bill would require hospitals to post the most common procedures in excess of $25, and prices for those types of procedures don’t vary all that much, she said.

“This is not a panacea for price transparency,” Krinkie said. “We’re going to comply, but I think it has the potential to be confusing for patients.”

The companion is SF3480, sponsored by Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake). It awaits action by the Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee.

This article originally appeared on the Minnesota House of Representatives Daily News site. To view the original article, please click here

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