Price Transparency and Hospitals

New court ruling to benefit consumers.

Earlier this year, we discussed “The Debate Over Transparency.” That topic involves providing more information to the public about all aspects of healthcare operations. One key part of this relates to price transparency and hospitals. Up until now, many factors related to the prices charged have been obscured.

New Court Ruling on Price Transparency and Hospitals

While yet a done deal, a major court decision will promote more price transparency in hospitals. Then, why is this not a done deal? Experts expect appeals of the verdict. For insights, we turn to two Fierce Healthcare articles by Robert King.

The Ruling

First, we look at the ruling:

[Last week], “a federal judge ruled against a lawsuit brought by hospital groups that challenges the Trump administration’s rule to require hospitals post charges they negotiate with payers. The ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dealt a major blow to hospitals — as well as insurers — who claimed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ rule that goes into effect in January is onerous.”

“Hospital groups sued CMS late last year charging the agency did not have the statutory authority to mandate the rule. It requires hospitals post payer-negotiated charges in order to give consumers more transparency. The judge also shot down hospitals’ arguments about the burden of the rule. The lawsuit said that the rule could require hospitals to publish a long list of charges because a hospital often negotiates a different charge with a different payer for the same service or procedure.”

What Will Hospitals Do Now?

Second, what is next?

“A court ruling upholding a controversial price transparency rule puts hospitals in a tight spot. How to comply with the regulation in the middle of a pandemic. Even though the groups issued plans to appeal, hospitals must weigh whether to start preparing for the rule. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.”

“’They need to be thinking about the practical implications of their compliance. They must make public information about pricing that has not up until now been public.’ According to Michael Abrams managing partner of the consulting firm Numerof Associates.”

“But hospitals have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. With some systems furloughing or laying off people. As well as clinical staff stretched to the limit to deal with cases.”

Click the image to read more.

Price Transparency and Hospitals
A federal judge ruled against hospital groups seeking to get rid of a CMS price transparency rule that requires facilities to post payer-negotiated rates. (Image: Pixabay)

 

What Will Healthcare Costs Be in 2021?

PwC presents three possible scenarios in its free report.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2020, healthcare forecasts remain uncertain. So, if we want to plan  for next year, what will healthcare costs be in 2021?

PwC Predicts: What Will Healthcare Costs Be in 2021?

PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers) looked at possible healthcare cost increases in 2021. You may register for a free ZOOM Webcast taking place on July 9.

Click here to access the full 31-page report.

According to the report:

Employer healthcare spending could fall in calendar year 2020 compared with 2019, and then rebound in 2021. How much it falls in 2020 and  rebounds in 2021 is subject to many variables.

For 2021, PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) has formulated three scenarios to help guide employers and health plans as they determine the medical cost trend. A high-spending scenario, in which spending grows
significantly higher in 2021 after being down in 2020, forecasts a 10% medical cost trend. A medium-spending scenario, in which spending grows at roughly the same rate in 2021 as it did from 2014 to 2019, projects a 6% medical cost trend. And a low-spending scenario, in which spending remains dampened in 2021, translates to a 4% medical cost trend.

What Will Healthcare Costs Be in 2021?

While spending may be up in 2021 over 2020, HRI identified two bright spots.  (1) Health has gained ground slowly for years. COVID-19 forced its rapid adoption by both consumers and clinicians. In 2021, HRI expects telehealth to be a viable and desirable alternative to in-person care. Saving employers and health plans on the episodic cost of care delivered virtually. (2) Networks narrow out of necessity. Over a quarter of employers have considered this for the past few years. Some of those employers may move to a narrow network plan in 2021 as COVID-19 and the related economic downturn force employers to shed costs. As well as make healthcare providers more willing in the short term to give price concessions or take on more risks in exchange for predictable cash flows. If it helps them get patients to return.

 

Feel Better with Five-Minute Yoga

Be more energized with just a few minutes a day of yoga.

Since beginning this blog, we have presented a number of posts on the value of exercise. As well as the implications of feeling tired. To complement these discussions, we now look at yoga. In particular, how to feel better with five-minute yoga.

How to Feel Better with Five-Minute Yoga

What Is Yoga?

For those not fully aware of yoga, we turn to Asia Trend for insights:

Yoga exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can generally result to better health. The five principles of yoga are the basis of attaining a healthy body and mind through the practice of yoga.

        1. Proper Relaxation
        2. Appropriate Exercise
        3. Proper Breathing
        4. Suitable Diet
        5. Positive Thinking and Meditation

Also, consider this infographic.

Feel Better with Yoga

Five-Minute Yoga

Could you really do an effective yoga routine in five minutes? According to Stephanie Mansour,  writing for CNN health, the answer is yes:

The countless hours that many of us have sat at a makeshift desk in quarantine can be detrimental — physically and mentally. Hunched over a computer day in and day out, you’re not just wreaking havoc on your posture, but you’re likely feeling out of sorts and drained, too.

If you wake up feeling stressed or overwhelmed with the thought of beginning another day in isolation, a daily yoga practice can be helpful. Practicing brief sessions of yoga and mindfulness can significantly improve energy levels and brain function.

 

Along with the physical practice of yoga, the breathwork,  has a significant positive impact on energy levels and cognitive function. Research has shown that slow, steady breathing linked with movement helps reduce stress and improve autonomic and higher neural center functioning.

 
To learn Mansour’s 5-minute yoga routine (with photos showing her suggested poses), click the image.

Feel Better with Five-Minute Yoga
Stephanie Mansour kicks off her morning with an energizing yoga routine in bed. Here she demonstrates the seated twist.