President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to increase healthcare price and quality transparency. The order specifically directs the Departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services to issue guidance and propose regulations that would disclose negotiated rates, cost-of-care and de-identified federal healthcare data, and to expand the availability of Health Savings Accounts. The order does not immediately trigger any new federal policies, except for the specific instructions to the federal agencies to develop regulatory guidance.

The order includes five main provisions instructing federal agencies to issue guidance that would:

  • Require hospitals to disclose information about their negotiated rates in a format that's understandable and usable by patients
  • Require insurance companies to provide patients with information about cost of care, including out-of-pocket costs, before they receive services
  • Develop a comprehensive roadmap for consistent, limited, consumer-centric quality metrics
  • Researchers, innovators, and providers will get more access to data that will them develop tools and analytics to provide patients with more information about healthcare prices and quality
  • Expand the availability of HSAs to cover direct primary care arrangements and healthcare sharing ministries, include more preventive services and products that can be covered in the deductible period, and issue guidance on the amount of funds that can be carried over at the remainder of the year for FSAs

This order seeks to fulfill the President's promise to lower costs for Americans through the spread of information. With more information available, benefits will be seen by both patients and researchers. Patients will be better informed consumers and researchers will have more data readily available to them. By requiring insurance companies to provide information about the cost of care before services are rendered, patients may now better plan for services without any "surprise billing." As stated in the White House notice, the goal is to make meaningful price and quality information more broadly available to more Americans, as it will protect patients and increase competition, innovation, and value in the healthcare system.

The executive order is the president's third major executive action on healthcare since taking office, after the order issued on his first day in office directing federal agencies to ease the regulatory burden of the ACA, and the order issued in October 2017 that led to the development of the rules on Association Health Plans, short-term plans and HRAs.

As with previous executive orders issued by President Trump, this order does not immediately trigger any executive action apart from the instructions issued to the federal agencies to develop regulatory actions. These will need to go through the traditional rulemaking procedures of providing a proposed rule for public comment before being able to enact any final rules.

Contact your Brio representative for additional information.

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