New York state received a failing grade for its efforts to help consumers gain a basic understanding about how much they can expect to pay for health-care services.
It was among 29 states across the nation graded with an "F" in a new Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws, a report that examines state laws designed to give consumers basic information about the average or expected prices of common health services.
Developed by two non-profits - Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) - the report's goal is to improve the information available to consumers about prices for health care services and encourage further effort in this area.
States were judged based on several criteria, including how they shared information about the price of services for inpatient and outpatient services with both doctors and hospitals, as well as whether the data was shared on a public website or public reports, as well as whether patients were permitted to request information prior to a hospital admission.
Massachusetts and New Hampshire were the only states to receive an "A" and were among just 14 states total graded at "C" or better. Nearly three quarters of the states, or 36 states, received a "D" or an "F" for meeting few if any of the criteria.
In a media release, Francois de Brantes, executive director of HCI3, pointed to studies that show the price for an identical health care procedure performed in the same city can vary by as much as 700 percent, with no difference in quality.
"When consumers shop for value, they can help rein in health care costs; but to do this, they first need timely and actionable price information," he said. "It should be concerning to every lawmaker in the country that 18 percent of the U.S. economy is shrouded in mystery."
Data sources used to compile the grades included the National Conference of State Legislatures and state-specific enacted legislation and state-specific sites devoted to public transparency of health care prices and quality.