The recently passed federal stimulus legislation makes coronavirus testing free to all patients, regardless of health insurance status. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms can now get tested without worrying about costs.
To ensure that hospitals don’t simply jack up their testing prices once health insurers, self-insured employers and the government are required to pick up the tab, the legislation demands providers post their diagnostic prices online. This transparency will hold hospitals accountable for their testing costs, protecting payers from price gouging and waste.
Policymakers can help patients and payers even more by extending this price transparency provision to coronavirus treatments in the next stimulus package. By allowing patients and self-insured employers to shop around for the best treatment value, a market will emerge and prices will fall. When patients have the peace of mind that coronavirus treatments won’t bankrupt them, they can devote all their energy to fighting this terrible disease.
— Cynthia A. Fisher, founder and chairman, PatientRightsAdvocate.org