The U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services has issued a new joint federal rule. Another federal mandate is hardly newsworthy, but one devised under the Trump Administration and eagerly implemented by the Biden Administration is certainly unique.
Beyond the politics, the Transparency in Coverage rule, while not without its shortcomings, helps to address on one of the fundamental flaws worsening the effectiveness of the nation’s healthcare system – its opacity.
The lack of transparency that pervades the healthcare system exposes patients to problems such as surprise medical bills. These unexpected, and often large, charges occur when patients are unaware that their in-network clinic is using provider(s) who do not participate in their insurance network. As a result, the in-network prices insurers negotiated do not apply to these providers, leaving patients stunned when they receive the unexpected additional charges that they were unaware they would have to pay.