Hospital leaders in New Bern looking at new law to help patients understand costs

Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 8:27 PM EST
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A new law went into effect at the start of 2019 that is designed to help patients understand costs when it comes to going to the hospital.

It's called the Inpatient Prospective Payment System Rule and it's part of a Medicare program aimed at pricing transparency in the health care system.

Hospitals like CarolinaEast Health System in New Bern launched their pricing site like all of the other hospitals in the country on January 1st.

The site allows you to select what procedure you want to have and breaks down a price based on whether or not you have insurance.

Officials with the hospital say the system allows for transparency, but they also say breaking down medical costs isn't always so clear cut.

Assistant VP of Finance at CarolinaEast Dave Hensen said, "It can be very overwhelming for the consumer to know exactly what they are going to need and for those patients that have insurance the chargemaster doesn't mean a whole lot because hospitals have contracts with providers that pay us whatever the cost is going to be."

Hospitals were already required to disclose prices publicly but this online format was designed to make the process easier. Officials at CarolinaEast say there are around 50,000 different charges on the chargemaster document.