BROWSE CASE STUDIES Case Studies > Cost Transparency in Colorado Hospitals

Cost Transparency in Colorado Hospitals

March 2015

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Background:Historically, uninsured patients, who do not have the bargaining power of large insurance companies or public programs, have often been charged much higher prices for hospital care than those with insurance. Although many hospitals have financial assistance programs, often consumers were not aware that these programs existed. In 2012, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative helped pass Senate Bill 134 which limits the amount that hospitals can charge low income uninsured patients for emergency and medically necessary services to the lowest negotiated rate with a private payer.

Goal: Under Colorado law, although hospitals must charge qualified low income uninsured individuals the lowest negotiated rate with a private payer, consumers are not able to independently verify the rate they are charged. Data from this project will provide a baseline for these consumers to evaluate whether they are being charged appropriately. More broadly, this project benefits Colorado residents by making information on hospital charges more transparent and accessible and ultimately helps consumers to become better consumers of health care.

Data Analyzed: Lowest commonly occurring facility price for commercial data at various hospitals for selected DRGs.

Results: In progress.