R.I. awarded $2.7M to promote health care pricing transparency

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services awarded $2.7 million to Rhode Island to help fight unreasonable rate increases and enhance health care pricing transparency, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced Monday. More

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R.I. awarded $2.7M to promote health care pricing transparency

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES announced Monday that Rhode Island has received $2.7 million to improve health care pricing transparency and educate the state's consumers about health care costs.
Posted 9/24/13

PROVIDENCE – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services awarded $2.7 million to Rhode Island to help fight unreasonable rate increases and enhance health care pricing transparency, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced Monday.

The grant, created by the Affordable Care Act, supports states’ efforts to regulate the evolving health insurance marketplace.

“Strong rate review programs save consumers money, provide more information to the public, and hold insurance companies accountable,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in a release. “We are pleased that these awards are providing new opportunities to states to shed light on health pricing data so the public can find out more about the prices insurance companies pay for medical procedures, from hip replacements to X-rays.”

In addition to Rhode Island, 20 other states were awarded grants to enhance their rate review programs. In total, approximately $67.6 million was awarded to support rate review and pricing transparency.

Rate review grants have a record of success, according to the CMS, the federal agency responsible for administering Medicare and Medicaid. A report released earlier this month found that state rate review programs saved consumers an estimated $1.2 billion on their premiums in 2012.

By funding pricing transparency initiatives, the agency said, these grants also will help improve consumers’ understanding of the different prices charged by health care providers in a given region or for a specific health insurer or service setting.

The funding announced Monday builds on federal rate review standards established by the Affordable Care Act and in effect since September 2011. These rules ensure that, in every state and territory, insurance companies are required to submit for review and justify any proposed health insurance premium rate increase of 10 percent or more.

For more information about federal rate review programs, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at www.cms.gov.

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