Ohio’s Opportunity for Health Care Price Transparency

Making health care costs transparent is the key to empowering patients and lowering the cost of care.

Since passage of key reforms in the Ohio House, hospital price transparency is within reach for the Buckeye State. Transparency is important in all areas of our economy and our government, and that is especially true for health care. As a matter of fact, the reforms in HB 49 codify existing federal law and allow for state enforcement of those laws—a necessary step to bringing down health care costs. These reforms also protect patients by prohibiting hospitals that are not in compliance with transparency laws from sending accounts into debt collection services.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010, required hospitals to post prices for their services. Very few hospitals are in compliance with that requirement, and the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to enforce the law. As a result, states are starting to codify transparency requirements of their own—allowing states the power to enforce.

Fewer than 1 in 5 Ohio hospitals are compliant with the ACA federal transparency requirements, and differences in costs for the same services can be hundreds of dollars in hospital facilities a short distance away from each other. Allowing the Ohio Director of Health to monitor and enforce the law will encourage higher compliance rates. Consumers will also be protected from debt collection if the hospital or provider was not in compliance at the time services were rendered.

Enforcing price transparency for health care services will help individuals understand the costs they incur and bring more competition to the health care market. Getting a handle on health care costs is particularly important to the long-term solvency of Medicare and Medicaid.  Efforts to bring transparency to health care have been largely bipartisan—a rarity in today’s polarized political atmosphere.

Health care is the only area of our economy where we are expected to “buy” a good or service without knowing the price. Making health care costs transparent is the key to empowering patients and lowering the cost of care. To that end, the Ohio House’s reforms share similarities with the model Hospital Price Transparency Act, one of ALEC’s Essential Policy Solutions for 2024.

In Depth: Health

There has never been a time when both federal and state jurisdictions have been more in control of American’s healthcare than it is today. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is well in motion, and each state has considered how to address provisions of the federal law as it has…

+ Health In Depth