Price Transparency in Health Care: The Other Half of the Value Equation

David B. Bumpass, MD, and Julie Balch Samora, MD, PhD, MPH

Healthcare reform is increasingly centered on value, defined as quality delivered per unit cost. Since passage of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the quality reporting landscape has been dramatically altered and expanded in both the public and private sectors. The goal of these efforts has been to increase the volume of accurate quality and outcomes data, making it available to patients, insurers, and health providers in a usable form. A similar information revolution for the denominator of the value equation, cost, is also becoming an increasingly important focus point nationwide.

Price transparency is defined as accessible information on how much a health service will cost a consumer. Ideally, this pricing information is specific to the region and healthcare providers in question, and available to both the patient and any third-party payers in a clear and usable format prior to purchasing the healthcare service.

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