New regulation is making hospital prices available to patients. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports:
As of January 1 of this year, hospitals are required to post prices of common health services on their websites via consumer-friendly tools for patient use. Prior to implementation of this rule, hospitals were only required to publish their gross, undiscounted charges for services, which are rarely what patients or insurers actually pay.
A recent KFF Tracking Poll, however, concludes that this initiative is unlikely to make a difference as few patients actually research hospital prices. According to the poll, 85% of adult patients had not gone online to shop for hospital prices in the past six months. This should not come as a surprise as previous research has reached the same finding.