The US Health Bureau is working towards improving the health condition of the country. That requires full access to all the available resources. Among the numerous efforts is the new legislation that will be applicable this year. Accordingly, all hospitals are required to post the standard charges for all the services they provide to patients.
What hospitals are required to do?
The legislation can prove to be a big breakthrough in the field of medical science. It can completely change the way how hospitals and other medical institutes traditionally operated.
The law came about when the legislators realized that a lot of the patients are not aware of how much they are charged. The treatment is carried out normally and only when it’s done is the patient provided with all the billing details. In most cases, the patient undergoes expensive examinations (often unrequired) that eventually leads to a higher medical bill.
It is to say that people are in one way or the other blind to the cost of their medical treatment. Now with the legislation, they may be able to search out for cheaper and more accessible hospital facilities.
The benefits of this law are numerous particularly for people who are without any type of health insurance. In addition, even those with inadequate insurance plans can also benefit from the legislation. Without having to pay a substantial amount for the medical facility, patients can look for better alternatives.
Moreover, private hospitals will also be forced to bring the prices of their facilities down.
There is simple economics involved to understand this.
A large number of hospitals all over the US operate in a competitive market. Each of the institutions will try to grab as many patients as possible. For that to happen successfully, all that is required is lower price charge.
The gist being, US citizens can now save themselves from the monetary exploitation under the hands of large hospitals.
The drawbacks of the law
A lot of the economists and medical experts feel that this plan is unlikely to yield meaningful results for the patients.
Firstly, the law doesn’t consider people who already have insurance plans. Therefore, only a very small chunk (just 10%) of US citizens without insurance are likely to benefit the most. It may look reasonable to change insurance packages to have access to cheaper hospitals facilities. Yet with so much paperwork and time involved, people end up sticking with their original package.
Although benefits may be plentiful for uninsured citizens, yet they do also have to go through certain confusions. The law creates a considerable amount of difficulty for patients to understand what treatment procedures they underwent. In most cases, the patient would not be aware whether any examination was right for him/her. That being said, most of the high medical costs would still remain unchallenged.
In the billing list that will be shown to the patients, hospitals still have the flexibility to exclude some costs. That include the rates charged by physicians, therapists or radiologists.
The legislation passed recently should be welcomed yet its drawbacks should not be overlooked. How the hospitals and patients react to the plan yet remains to be seen.