Hospitals soon required to post all prices online

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Beginning January 1, hospitals will be required to post standard prices online.

Hospitals are already required to disclose prices publicly, but this move from the Trump Administration would put that information online in a form easier for patients to access.

Local hospitals like CHI St. Joseph Health say that right now, they work directly with patients to predict the cost of care on an individualized basis.

CHI St. Joseph Vice President of Finance Austin Jones says that posting prices like a restaurant menu may be confusing.

"If you were to go and look today, the restaurant menu would be like ordering from something in Greek because you'd see a lot of medical terms and they wouldn't really make sense to most of us," said Jones.

Furthermore, Jones says that each patient would have their own insurance coverage policy to consider, as that would greatly affect the price.

"I think what would be probably more effective, helpful if our government and private insurers were to publish these in more of a layman's terms," Jones said.

For the full conversation with Jones, see the video player above.

Below is a statement from Baylor Scott & White Health about the changes:

Baylor Scott & White Health supports the vision of greater pricing transparency for patients and recognizes the importance of sharing anticipated out-of-pocket costs with patients prior to service.

We believe that pricing transparency needs to be meaningful for patients seeking information about actual out-of-pocket costs, and our organization has made significant investments over the past five years to implement technology and processes to help patients get the information they need to make decisions about their care.

On the “Estimate Your Cost of Care” page on BSWHealth.com, an automated price estimation tool is a reliable source for specific estimates of out-of-pocket costs because it combines our pricing (charges), contract terms and rates, and real-time eligibility and benefit information to produce a unique estimate for each patient. It is on this webpage that we are posting the list of standard charges mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Our pre-registration team makes proactive phone calls for patients with a scheduled service to provide them with an estimate in advance of service, and our price estimate team provides price shoppers with the opportunity to call, email or chat with us online to obtain an estimate for potential services at one of our locations.