Labor, business group demands more health care cost transparency

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 12, 2012

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A nonprofit coalition of labor unions and major employers issued a policy brief calling for the broader availability of health cost data and transparency by January 2014.

The Catalyst for Payment Reform issued the policy brief in late October, saying that consumers typically learn of the cost of health care services only after receiving a bill. The groups said patients “have the right to know the price and quality of their health care choices.”

Health plans and health care organizations should release price and quality information available at a level that is “meaningful to consumers (i.e. at the individual hospital or physician level rather than at a health system level),” the brief said (link).The policy also said self-insured employers should be able to use claims data to develop benefit designs and that current antitrust laws should be enforced to ensure that price information is not used in an anti-competitive manner.

The group, which includes such employers as FedEx, 3M and Boeing, are asking that these changes be implemented by 2014. Their plan has been endorsed by various organizations, including the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Corporate Care Coalition.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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