Davisson: Improving transparency in health care

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Friday, January 10, 2020

Hoosiers spend more on health care annually than the average American. Anecdotal evidence indicates many patients are skipping necessary procedures and prescriptions because they fear they cannot afford them. To help, Indiana House Republicans are prioritizing driving down health care costs this session with two proposals for new laws that can also help empower consumers to make more informed choices regarding their health.

House Bill 1004 would stop surprise billing. That is where a patient visits an in-network hospital or facility, but a health care professional who is out-of-network provides care. The patient then finds out their bill for the visit was much higher than expected. Sometimes this happens simply because an in-network specialist was sick, and whoever filled in happened to be out-of-network. It is this kind of situation I want eliminated to protect Indiana patients. This legislation would require all professionals to bill patients at in-network rates if they visit an in-network hospital or facility.

Another beneficial tool for patients would be establishing a system for requesting and receiving timely good faith cost estimates for non-emergency procedures from providers and insurers. This would prepare Hoosiers, giving them a better understanding of what they will likely end up paying when they receive their bill. We will also look to create an All-Payer Claims Database, giving consumers the opportunity to compare prices for services and operations between doctors and facilities, which should generate competition.  Other states have seen success with this similar measure, including in Minnesota where residents saved an estimated $2 billion collectively in one year.

These are a couple of tools to help Hoosier consumers better manage health care while improving transparency. Much of what will improve this issue is empowering Hoosiers to make the best choice available. This will be a highly discussed issue over the next few weeks, and it is my hope these bills will become law and positively impact Hoosiers and their health.

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State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) represents House District 73, which includes
Washington County, and portions of Orange, Lawrence, Jackson, Clark and Harrison counties. 
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.