Consumers are empowered to negotiate medical costs

Newly required cost transparency empowers patients and their families, says Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries

January 17, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hospitals and other medical providers are being forced to display prices charged to patients for certain medical procedures, thanks to tough new federal enforcement federal guidelines to punish violators of the price transparency rules that rolled out in 2021. 

Even as a new law, the No Surprises Act, will begin protecting patients against unfair out-of-network health care bills, many hospitals still remain stubbornly non-compliant with the Hospital Price Transparency Rule implemented in January 2021, as they continue to hide pricing that gouges patients’ pocketbooks.

The new transparency regulation is more important than ever. Over a recent six-year period, medical costs have doubled. Striving to find a better way to handle rising medical costs and obtain price transparency for medical services, more than a million Americans have turned to Health Care Sharing Ministries, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. Cost transparency may be new to some patients and medical professionals, but seeking transparency is nothing out of the ordinary for members of Health Care Sharing Ministries. Since 2019, billions of dollars in medical expenses have been shared between the members of Health Care Sharing Ministries for health care services in all 50 states.

While the new transparency law concerning medical costs is helpful, it is not always easily accessible or usable to the patients’ advantage.

“Despite government regulations, many hospitals still have inconsistent and hidden pricing,” said Katy Talento, executive director for the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. “Many people believe that patients just have to accept this opaque system where you find the price after the fact. But the truth is, hospitals are required to comply, and consumers can report their hospitals to the federal government for defying the law. What’s more, even if a hospital is posting its prices, that doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation—uninsured patients can negotiate discounted rates. Indeed, Health Care Sharing Ministries support their members in negotiating better deals in health care every day.

“Our affiliated ministries often hear from grateful members about the help they received to negotiate lower prices with providers,” Talento said.

Michael and Andrea, who live in California and are members of an Alliance Health Care Sharing Ministry, shared recently,

“We have both had some major health challenges in 2020. Mike had a heart attack and Andrea had optic nerve issues. Without medical insurance, and generally enjoying good health for many years, we did not know exactly what to expect in paying for these problems. We negotiated discounts with providers. The [Health Care Sharing Ministry] has been a joy to work with, and members have blessed us with funds, well-wishes, and prayers. God is very good!”

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries was established as a 501(c)(6) trade organization to represent the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministries which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators and policy makers, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information about Health Care Sharing Ministries.

Learn more about The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries visit www.ahcsm.org or follow the ministry on Facebook or Twitter.  

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