Oklahomans will soon be able to see the prices for common health care services, allowing them to shop and compare the best and most affordable care available.
The Oklahoma Legislature recently passed the Transparency in Health Care Prices Act, which will require health care providers, groups and facilities to make cash prices for their most commonly provided services available to consumers. It received Gov. Kevin Stitt’s signature last week after passing unanimously through the state House and Senate.
The measure will help prevent patients from being left in the dark when trying to determine how much their bills will be.
Northeastern Health System is upbeat about the new legislation, according to Chief Financial Officer Rick Wagner.
“We look forward to the price transparency, since NHS has some of the lowest charges in the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “Our staff, along with an outside consulting firm, have been working for the last six months to bring online a tool where patients can get an estimate of their actual out-of-pocket cost based on their own insurance policies on our website, or at the time of service. We will be rolling this out soon in a test phase and full use in the new future.”
This law will give consumers the information they need to compare prices and consider the best treatment options, according to State Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, who authored the bill.
“Oklahoma consumers know what it will cost them to get groceries, to get their car serviced, to have repairs done on their homes. Basically, the price of every available product or service is available ahead of time,” said Bush. “We should expect the same for health care.
Health care prices means the case price a provider, group or facility will charge a patient for a standard service. The pricing will be made available either on the provider’s website or other conspicuous posting. The measure will go into effect Nov. 1.
“This is a much-needed reform to our health care industry that will add transparency to the costs of medical services and help those who pay cash make better informed decisions about their care,” said State Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, who wrote the bill in the Senate. “Just like any other service, healthcare costs should be provided up front, and this is a great first step towards opening up the industry to provide full data access for patients.”
Under the new law, health care facilities will also be required to to make common diagnosis and outpatient CPT codes public. The price would not include any amount in the case of complications or exceptional treatment. Furthermore, the bill forbids the review of health care prices by any agency and interference in contracts between private parties.
Press inquiries to NeoHealth were not returned by press time.