Hospitals required to post all prices online

Hospitals required to post all prices online
Posted at 2:57 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 16:57:15-05

BOISE — There are simple check-ups, life-saving procedures, and thousands of other reasons you walk through hospital doors. As of January, there's a new federal rule to show you the price tag for whatever the reason may be.

"Historically we've always been required to provide a list to patients if they request it, so all they're doing at this point is making that list available in a digital format," said senior director of revenue integrity at St. Luke's hospital Matthew Morishita.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the new regulations require hospitals to list everything from medications to cost of procedures, which is where it can get confusing, since everything is listed separately.

"You'd have to know what they're all those are, then add them all together, what can be billed together, what can be bundled, there's a lot of billing complexity," said manager of patient access services for St. Luke's hospital Becca Osmanagic.

You can use the online list to compare the price of a procedures at different locations, but the price tags you see online are probably not what you'll actually pay.

"At the end of the day it really may not matter what they charge, it may come down to what is the agreement with your insurance and so you may see there's a better rate a free standing imagining center but maybe they're not in network," said Morishita.

Insurance plays a key role and St. Luke's staff recommends you check with your provider before making a final decision. The new rule allows patients to at least have a ballpark of what out-of-pocket charges they're facing.

"We definitely don't want to put our patients in a position where they would've made a different decision if they had the information at the beginning," said senior director of patient access operations for St. Luke's Tonia Ferguson.

Both St. Luke's and Saint Alphonsus also have a 'price estimator' tool you can use online.