New federal rules require hospitals post information online about the cost for various medical procedures. The South Carolina Hospital Association wants to help out patients with the new information.
The organization launched a new online portal SCPricePoint.org, which compares prices for various procedures across the state, according to the group’s president Thornton Kirby.
“The site allows members of the public to access information about services and charges at hospitals throughout the state,” Kirby said in a video posted to the site. “This is a starting point for price transparency in South Carolina.”
The Trump administration hopes the information will make hospitals more transparent about their pricing and help patients avoid sticker shock after receiving their bill for surgery. “This payment proposal takes important steps toward a Medicare system that puts patients in charge of their care and allows them to receive the quality and price information needed to drive competition and increase value,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said when the new rules were revealed last year.
The new requirements took effect on January 1. But Kirby warns the website’s users not to put too much stock into the numbers listed. The actual cost will vary, depending on their insurance plans.
“What patients ultimately pay will depend on whether they have insurance, as well as the type of insurance coverage,” he said. And different health insurers may have different agreements with each hospital or the cost to a patient could vary based on their own plan.