ER with doctors and nurses gathered around beds

The hospital price transparency requirements that went into effect in 2021 are beginning to get results as more researchers analyze the data for specific information. A recent study from the University of Maryland illustrates how the law affords insight into how hospitals set fees for various services.

The study, “Hospital and Regional Characteristics Associated with Emergency Department Facility Fee Cash Pricing,” by Morgan A. Henderson and Morgane C. Mouslim, examines the emergency department fees set by 1,600 hospitals reported in 2021. The goal is to see how hospitals set Emergency Department (ED) fees for patients paying in cash. The authors note that, due to the millions of Americans who are underinsured or not insured at all, this group represents a not inconsequential number of ED users.

The study produces a range of results–including the finding that the larger health systems were more likely to comply with price transparency regulations than smaller providers. These same major players appeared to view cash payments in the ED as a fine way to boost their profits. Even though they claim to offer discounts for cash payments, their pricing policies appear to reveal a motive in opposition to giving the cash payer a break.

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