We graded all 50 states on price transparency. What’s next?
May 19, 2020
Price transparency is one lever to ease the burden of rising costs, especially in today’s context where health care costs consume a greater portion of household budgets. Traditionally, consumers have been shielded from the true cost of health care, but the rise of high-deductible health plans has left many families exposed to exorbitant health care prices. Aware of a growing problem, states began to make health care price information available to aid health care consumer shopping. To spur further progress, CPR began to grade states on their state price transparency laws and public-facing websites.
On May 5, 2020, Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Source on Healthcare Price and Competition, at the University of California Hastings College of Law, released the sixth installment of the Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws. The Report Card demonstrates that states have forged ahead, with nine more states making price information available to consumers through accurate, more comprehensive and easier-to-use websites.
CPR released the first five Report Card installments consecutively, but states made little progress each year. Only seven states received a passing grade in the 2017 report, but, this year, sixteen made the grade. The three-year hiatus gave states time to improve their state-mandated websites or pass legislation implementing all-payer claims databases.
While it is a win that more consumers have access to price information, consumer shopping is not the silver bullet to the nation’s health care cost problem. States know this, so they are using health care price information to inform policymaking, such as to develop surprise billing or network adequacy laws, to expose price variation and outlier providers, or to evaluate the impact of alternative payment models or other state-based reforms. In the future, CPR plans to evaluate states on their broader transparency efforts, recognizing the diversity of avenues states are pursuing to improve the functioning of health care markets.
The 2020 Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws leveraged The Database of State Laws Impacting Healthcare Cost and Quality (SLIHCQ), which catalogs state legislation in a publicly searchable and sortable format.
Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash.