Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Statement on the Administration’s Health Care Cost Transparency Rules

WASHINGTON – Blue Cross Blue Shield Association President and CEO Scott Serota issued the following statement today regarding the administration’s rules on health care cost transparency.

“Unfortunately, the rules the administration released today will not help consumers better understand what health services will cost them and may not advance the broader goal of lowering health care costs.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies strongly support efforts to empower consumers with greater access to meaningful information that allows them to make the best choices for their health care. However, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noted in the proposed rule, the publication of negotiated rates for medical services may have negative, unintended consequences – including price increases – as clinicians and medical facilities could see in the negotiated payments a roadmap to bidding up prices rather than lowering rates. The rule also has potential to add complexity and confuse consumers, who will not be able to determine their own out-of-pocket costs from this information.

Our experience insuring one in three Americans tells us consumers most want clear information about their out-of-pocket costs, the quality of care a physician or facility will provide, and whether a clinician is in their plan’s network.

We want shopping for medical services to become part of the click-and-compare world. Most BCBS companies around the country already have robust tools allowing consumers to obtain information on the cost and quality of certain procedures, while safeguarding consumer information. These tools are tailored to the consumers’ own coverage and benefits, including information on co-pays and progress towards meeting deductibles.

Expanding the use of these secure health plan tools is the surest way to make health care costs more transparent, reduce complexity and help patients avoid unexpected and unnecessary expenses.”

Learn more about BCBS companies’ transparency tools for consumers here.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.