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Medical Price Transparency
OSPIRG Foundation is working to make sure consumers get to see health care prices up front.
SECRET PRICES CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH COSTS
Recent studies show that one third of every dollar we spend on health care is wasted on something that doesn’t improve our health. One reason why is that hospitals get to keep their prices—and the extra charges and fees often tacked on—hidden from patients. Take a look at some of these examples:
IT’S TIME FOR UP FRONT PRICES
We can bring down the cost of care in Oregon by making sure consumers get to see health care prices up front, such as by requiring health care providers to post their prices online or to give patients the price of a recommended procedure in real time.
There has been a robust public discussion of this issue in the national news media, as well as a spirited debate in the Oregon Legislature this year about one specific policy framework crafted by OSPIRG Foundation in 2014. The policy requires Hospitals and other providers to publicly post their prices online for the most common services and procedures, and if a consumer is looking for an estimate for a specific procedure, he should be able to get that in a reasonable amount of time from either his provider or insurance company. Public support for such solutions is high, but the health care industry has successfully resisted most meaningful efforts at change. We believe that momentum is on our side and that a breakthrough in the next few years is achievable.
OSPIRG Foundation is committed to reaching that tipping point through the following activities:
• Expand our multi-ideological coalition of support for meaningful price transparency to include Oregon business leaders, software developers and medical professionals.
• Continue to promote our policy framework through speaking engagements and presentations to regulators and other health care thought leaders in Oregon and nationally. Develop at least one variant of our basic policy aimed at expanding public access to health insurance price calculators, currently only available to a small number of people.
• Continue to educate the public, state policymakers and reporters about the merits of transparent health care prices.
 Institute of Medicine at the National Academies, Sept 2012, "Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America".
 CNN, March 2010, "Prescription for Waste"
 OSPIRG blog, October 2013, "Thousand Dollar Ointment".
 Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data
Oregon consumers face rising health insurance premiums on the individual market, due to rising health care costs and recent changes to federal policy. A new report from OSPIRG Foundaiton and Frontier Group explores the drivers of market instability and policy options for the state to stabilize the marketplace and expand consumer choice.
New report from OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group details rising health care costs and federal disruptions to the individual insurance market; explores policy options to stabilize prices and expand consumer choice.
Health care has been a hot topic in Washington again this year, and there has been a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the future. With all of this background noise, it’s more important than ever to get the facts about how you and your family can get coverage that works for you.
- A Better Health Insurance Market For Oregon
- OSPIRG FOUNDATION COMMENTS ON THE PROVIDENCE HEALTH PLAN PROPOSAL FOR INDIVIDUAL HEALTH RATES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2019
- Improving Price Transparency
- OSPIRG Foundation Comments on the Providence Health Plan Proposal for Individual Health Rates Effective January 2018
- Comments on Providence Health Plan's proposal to raise individual health insurance rates
Your tax-deductible donation supports OSPIRG Foundation’s work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, and the powerful interests that are blocking progress.
You can also support OSPIRG Foundation’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations.