Comparing cancer costs is challenging, despite new price transparency rules

Comparing cancer costs is challenging, despite new price transparency rules

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | January 17, 2020 Rad Oncology

Previous studies have found that medical expenses cause financial distress in one in three Americans, and patients with cancer are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy than patients who don't have cancer.

Royce said a new set of price transparency rules the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released in November may address some of the shortcomings the researchers outlined in their study. Included in the new rules is a requirement for hospitals to publicly post both standard charges for specific services and the actual prices they have negotiated with private insurers.

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"This has the potential to be a much more impactful step in achieving health care price transparency, but it is not clear when this will be implemented, as several hospital groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in federal court regarding this rule," said Royce.

In addition to Royce and Agarwarl, the paper's other authors are Anupriya Dayal, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Health, Philadelphia; Sheetal M. Kircher, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; and Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, formerly of UNC Lineberger and now at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

The data was originally presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in September.

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