Reps. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) recently introduced American Hospital Association-supported legislation to promote health care price transparency. The Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act of 2013 (H.R. 1326) would require states to have or establish laws requiring hospitals to disclose information on charges for certain inpatient and outpatient services; and require health insurers to provide to enrollees upon request a statement of estimated out-of-pocket costs for particular health care items and services. In addition, the legislation directs the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the types of health care cost information that consumers find useful, and how that information might be distributed in a timely and simple, coherent way.
"This legislation builds on [the] existing structure, and also requires insurers to participate in the disclosure process by providing information on estimated out-of-pocket costs for health care services, which is often the most valuable information for insured patients," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, noting that AHA strongly supports the bill. "… While sharing exact information is challenging because hospital care is individually tailored to each patient’s needs, hospitals remain committed to providing meaningful and useful information for consumers."