A Forum poll suggests that many hospitals can provide basic price estimates to patients, while payers are beginning to arm their members with price transparency tools.

Seventy-eight Forum members from healthcare provider organizations shared details on the availability of price transparency tools for patients in an informal poll conducted in April 2014.

The majority of respondents said their organizations could give patients approximate price estimates for uncomplicated or routine hospital services (see the exhibit below).

Exhibit 1-Capability to Provide Price Estimates

However, the anecdotal results suggest that price transparency tools are not yet widely available from commercial payers. These payer tools typically help consumers understand the out-of-pocket cost implications of choosing one provider over another. Only seven out of 78 Forum respondents reported more than 40 percent of commercial revenue being tied to a payer that offered members a price transparency tool (see the exhibit below).

Exhibit 2-Do Your Payers Provide Price Transparency Tools?

But this may change in the foreseeable future. More than half of respondents believe that it will be four years or less before more than 40 percent of their commercial revenue is tied to payers with price transparency tools.

Exhibit 3-How Long Before Payers Provide Price Transparency Tools?

The article is based on an informal Forum poll conducted in April 2014. HFMA thanks all the Forum members who took part in this informal poll.

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Publication Date: Monday, May 19, 2014