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May 3, 2016

Price Transparency: Not a Panacea for High Health Care Costs

Author Affiliations
  • 1Philadelphia VA Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Wharton School of Medicine and Health Care Management, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2016;315(17):1842-1843. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4325

It has become conventional wisdom that providing patients information about prices of services will allow health care markets to work more effectively by enabling patients as consumers to weigh the price of health services in deciding what services to choose. As a reflection of this belief, more than half of US states have passed legislation mandating health plans, hospitals, or physicians to provide some form of price transparency. In one study, use of an employer-sponsored private price transparency platform was associated with lower claims payments for common medical services, with 13% to 14% reductions observed for advanced imaging and common laboratory tests and a 1% reduction noted for routine office visits.1

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