PatientRightsAdvocate.org recently released a study which randomly evaluated 500 hospitals on their compliance with a new Affordable Care Act (ACA) hospital price transparency rule, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Out of the five randomly selected Utah hospitals, all were noncompliant to this new rule.
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The rule required hospitals to provide a machine-readable charges list for all services, a list of discounted cash prices, and a standard charges list or price estimator tool for the 300 most common shoppable services.
Researchers reviewed hospital websites for ACA rule compliance from May 15 to July 8. Firelight Health LLC, a health care data company, held a separate review of the data and validated the report.
According to the study, a hospital was noncompliant if they left out one of the five charge criteria required by the rule, if negotiated payer rates associate with plans were not posted, if it posted blanks or zeros in data fields, or if the price estimator tool did not show both negotiated rates and discounted prices for both insured and uninsured customers.
Overall results showed that 80.6% did not publish payer-specific negotiated charges clearly, 51.6% of hospitals did not publish their negotiated rates at all, and 39.6% did not publish discounted cash prices.
The report estimated that 19.2% of hospitals presented the 300 shoppable services in a “consumer-friendly” way, and 75.6% published a price estimator tool.
The Utah Hospital Association was not able to provide comment before publication.
The five noncompliant hospitals were Intermountain Medical Center, Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital, McKay-Dee Hospitals, University of Utah Hospital, and Utah Valley Hospital.
Below is a table listing how they were noncompliant: