ACOs have largely sidestepped the cost transparency dispute raging between Medicare and medical providers, especially hospitals, due to CMS rules requiring providers to give consumers coverage-based cost estimates. If you’re an ACO, you probably assume that cost transparency is not your problem.
So you probably won’t like to hear that your ACO should be helping your patients manage costs via cost transparency. Moreover, doing so will benefit you as much as your patients.
Let’s examine why this makes sense.
Lack of Cost Transparency Disables Discussion of Value for Consumers
Cost transparency really means giving advance price information to consumers so that they can make good decisions about diagnostics and treatments. If consumers are blind to the actual cost of services, their incentives to keep those costs down are minimal. Value is at the heart of transparency efforts. And for consumers, who now shoulder a much larger portion of costs—if not all, if insurance coverage ends—cost transparency is also a matter of fairness.