New federal mandate requiring hospitals to post service pricing online

PENNSYLVANIA --- A new federal mandate which will require hospitals to post the approximate price of routine services online, is set to go into effect in the New Year.

“You go to the hospital and you don’t know what you have to pay for and you’re stuck with this humungous bill," said Adam Foster of York.

Fosters concerns are the exact issue the federal mandate is aiming to solve.

“I think it’s important to get educated as much as possible on cost," said Ed Blankenstein of York.

FOX43 reached out to ‘The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania' to get a better idea of how it all really works.

“If you go in and you have a broken arm all of the services and the office visits to the X-Ray to lab work, everything that the hospital provides, would potentially be available on the charge master list," said Jolene Calla, Vice President of Health Care Finance & Insurance at The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

Calla says the mandate is simply there to give people a general idea, not an exact number. She says some of the things you should keep in mind are the differences between charge, price and cost.

“A charge is the maximum total amount that a hospital can bill a patients insurer and that’s what’s being posted online," said Calla.

Calla says the actual price may be different based on if you have insurance or if you are eligible for other types of financial assistance.

As for the cost,  that’s the amount you could potentially be looking at paying out of pocket which includes things like deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance.

All of those things will fall under a list of medical codes and dollar amounts on hospital websites, which Calla says may be a bit confusing to some.

“The average person might not understand all of the things that are included," she added.

That's why some hospitals taking steps to make things easier for patients  by offering additional ways to understand the pricing.

A spokesperson for WellSpan said in part quote -- “To get a more accurate estimate of the cost, we encourage patients to request a cost estimate through our website or by calling our cost estimate hotline.” - Ryan Coyle, WellSpan spokesperson.

Many people in the community say they are on board with the changes.

“It’s a good idea because you can kind of know what you’re going to have to pay for before you go to the hospital for anything," said Adam Foster of York.

 “You have to be prepared, it's your life we're talking about" added Ed Blankenstein of York.

The new mandate will go into effect January 1.

For more information on what your medical bill may look like, be sure to check out your local hospitals website.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.