Making Prices Transparent

SCHA’s PricePoint serves as a price screening tool for South Carolina patients

Starting January 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a new rule formally requiring all hospitals to post a list of prices for services and procedures online, a move that CMS hopes will improve transparency and provide more public information around the costs of healthcare.

Now every hospital in South Carolina must post their standard charges for products and services delivered in the healthcare facility. However, the utility of these charges is a bit limited given that they do not consider the multitude of insurance providers, the specifics in different coverage plans or whether the service is performed within the insurer network. Therefore, consumers will not be able to rely on these charges alone to determine their out of pocket costs. Nevertheless,  it’s a starting point for many patients, as well as regulators and policymakers looking to address healthcare pricing.

SCHA previously established www.scpricepoint.org, a website to help consumers better understand hospital pricing by providing a database of services and charges from hospitals around the state. The website also launched with a series of videos that walk through why hospital’s charges are what they are, how insurance affects your out-of-pocket costs and the best way to go about selecting your healthcare providers.

For more information, head to SCPricePoint.org