“Our results provide sobering evidence that substantial efforts from government and industry to improve pricing transparency have had little tangible effect on availability of prices,” Mahomed’s group wrote.
U.S. patients are less able to get a firm price tag for certain procedures than they were before price transparency efforts took hold in recent years, researchers said. Calling 120 hospitals to seek the lowest bundled price (including all hospital and physician fees) for a potential patient’s total hip arthroplasty in 2016, Safiyyah Mahomed, of Toronto General Hospital, and colleagues found that they were only given one in 6.7% of cases (down from 15.8% in 2012, OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.0-0.8). hey had more success getting a complete price by contacting the hospital and physician office separately, but even this was accomplished in just 20.8% of their attempts (down from 47.5%, OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.1-0.5). The most likely outcome, occurring in 44.2% of cases, was no price quote given over the phone at all (up from 14.2%, OR 4.6, 95% CI 2.3-10.2), according to the research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.