NEWS: Health Care Price Transparency Passes Alaska House

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz

HB 123 Empowers Consumers with Basic Cost Information

April 7, 2017

Juneau – Earlier today, the Alaska House of Representative passed legislation to empower consumers by requiring health care providers and facilities to post a list of the prices for the most commonly provided procedures.  House Bill 123, sponsored by Representative Ivy Spohnholz, requires health care providers to post health care price information in their public reception areas and online.  They would also be required to provide that information to the State of Alaska, which will make it available on the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ website.

“Health care is one of the only services where consumers have almost no idea how much it will cost,” said Rep. Spohnholz.  “This lack of price information prevents one of the fundamental tenets of capitalism, which is the power of the consumer to make choices about what they do or  do not purchase.  This bill makes price information available to the consumer before they receive the service so they can make informed decisions.” 

Specifically, HB 123 requires health care providers (individual doctors and practitioners) to provide the undiscounted price charged individuals for each of their 25 most frequently performed health care services; and health care facilities (hospitals, clinics, etc.) would be required to provide the same information for the 50 most frequently performed health care services provided at the facility.

“There are no silver bullets to fix the flaws in our health care system, which has become increasingly expensive and complicated,” said Rep. Spohnholz.  “I believe increasing price transparency is a good place to start and I am confident that this bill will help inform consumers so they can make the best choices for their own health.”

HB 123 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 34-6.  The bill will now be sent to the Alaska Senate for consideration. 

For more information, please contact Bernice Nisbett in Rep. Rep. Spohnholz’s office at (907) 465-2696


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