1. New federal law requires hospitals to publish its prices; California already does

    New federal law requires hospitals to publish its prices; California already does

    News Health has required hospitals to charge no more than their highest government rates — usually what they bill Medicare — for uninsured patients and those who earn up to 350 percent of the federal poverty rate, about $42,000 for an individual and $87,000 for a family of four. A 2010 law further limits the abilities of hospitals to send uninsured bills to collections agencies.

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    1. It's true that these price lists are more confusing than useful for patients, but I do think that, the more this data gets out there, the better.
    2. What it really comes down to is this hugely inflated price structure that the chargemasters make visible. This is the behind-the-scenes leverage that drives prices up and up.
    3. Suppliers and providers feel that those privately-negotiated prices that they actually pay are trade secrets, and they're not available to the public.
    4. In 2004, a normal delivery, which is the most common reason to be admitted to a hospital, was $3,500 for a two-day stay for a woman with an average age of 28.
    5. The indication is that the chargemaster price is three or four times what insurance companies actually pay for services.
    6. As more and more people are in these plans with narrower and narrower networks, the number of people receiving care out of network just keeps growing.
    7. We need to increase rates or you're going to be paying the billed charges (chargemaster) rates.
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