New year, new rules for hospital charges | CraigDailyPress.com

New year, new rules for hospital charges

New rules aim to provide greater transparency in health care pricing.
Stock images

Editor’s Note: Prices for health care services may not reflect the actual amount of individual financial responsibility. It is advisable to check with insurance and medical providers for pricing specific to various treatments.

CRAIG — New national rules aim to make health care costs easier to find.

Charges for medical services must now be posted by hospitals receiving federal payment following changes in regulations made in 2018 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“There are no hospitals operating within the United States with exemptions from this requirement under the current policy,” according to cms.gov.

The format used to present the information will be at hospitals’ choice, as long as the information represents the hospital’s current standard charges, as reflected in its charge master — the comprehensive list of billable items.

The three biggest providers in Craig — Northwest Colorado Health, Memorial Regional Health, and UCHealth — have pricing posted on their websites, with MRH posting their chargemaster.

The Rangely District Hospital and Pioneer Medical Centers have also posted chargemasters to their websites.

Table showing cost estimates for some of the most common medical procedures.

“CMS encourages hospitals to undertake efforts to engage in consumer-friendly communication of their charges to help patients understand what their potential financial liability might be for services they obtain at the hospital and to enable patients to compare charges for similar services across hospitals,” according to cms.gov.

UCHealth offers a patient cost estimator, and all area medical providers offer financial counseling to help patients determine cost estimates and repayment options.

The CMS rule follows a similar state regulation passed in 2017 and enacted in 2018 — the ‘Transparency in Health Care Prices Act’ — which requires health care professionals and health care facilities to make available prices they assess directly for common health care services.

Under these rules, health care professionals and facilities are allowed to determine their own pricing and are not required to submit prices to any government agency for review or approval.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.