Aug 15, 2022 - Health

Few cancer centers have price transparency

Illustration of a caduceus with a price tag

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Less than a third of the 63 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the U.S. are fully complying with federal price transparency rules, according to an analysis in JAMA Surgery.

Why it matters: Cancer treatment can be particularly costly, leading some patients to face crippling debt and even bankruptcy in their bid to find a cure.

The details: A federal rule that took effect Jan. 1, 2021 required hospitals to disclose five types of standard charges for all services in an accessible file, and have a consumer-friendly display for at least 300 shoppable services.

  • By August 2021, 42 of the 63 cancer hospitals (about two-thirds) provided some information on negotiated rates, the analysis found.
  • Only 20 of the 63 hospitals were fully compliant.

What they're saying: "What is less easy to convey in a quantitative fashion is how cumbersome most websites or files were to navigate," the authors from the University of California, Los Angeles' medical school wrote.

Be smart: This analysis was conducted not long after the law went into effect. The authors acknowledge compliance will likely improve over time.

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