Terre Haute hospitals talk about new pricing transparency guidelines

New rule for hospitals nationwide may help you understand your medical bill better.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 4:45 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 7:04 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - New rule for hospitals nationwide may help you understand your medical bill better.

The Hospital Price Transparency Rule took effect in the U.S. on January 1st.

It says medical providers must publicize their rates for all items and services.

That way you know what you might have to pay ahead of time.

We went to Union Hospital in Terre Haute to talk with leaders about the new rule.

They told us all Hoosier hospitals have been publicizing their prices on the Indiana Hospital Association website since 2015.

However, they now post on their hospital site as well.

Because healthcare is very personal, pricing is difficult, and what you actually pay depends on what insurance coverage you have.

"I think it's important we do everything possible to let patients know what the cost of care is, even though it's complicated. So I think it's a good thing. I think we just have to evolve as an industry...as hospitals and insurers and such to help that be more transparent," Steve Holman, the President and CEO of Union Health told us.

News 10 also reached out to Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

They say they've been focused on pricing transparency since 2007.

They did not want to go on camera, bit sent us the following statement:

“We have been focused on pricing transparency for many years because we believe it is important for patients to be able to make informed choices about their healthcare and understand their financial obligations. Terre Haute Regional Hospital has been providing pricing estimates and information about the billing process online since 2007, and is already complying with this regulation.

That said, it’s important for consumers to understand that the amount patients actually pay for hospital services has more to do with the type of insurance coverage they have than amounts on the charge master. Government programs like Medicare and Medicaid determine how much they reimburse hospitals, and insurance plans negotiate rates. Additionally uninsured patients are eligible for free care through our charity care program or they receive our uninsured discounts, which are similar to the discounts a private insurance plan gets. In 2017, we expanded our discounts to help more patients, including those who are uninsured or underinsured, who may have trouble paying for hospital services by capping bills for eligible patients who earn up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.”

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