Why Hospital Price Transparency is Crucial for Ohio Patients

Price transparency in health care has become a significant issue across the United States. Ohio is no exception. Hospital Price Transparency is a very important topic. Patients can be frustrated by the complexity of the healthcare system.

Especially when, in addition to your illness, there are unexpected expenses. Recently, there has been pressure on Ohio hospitals to keep price lists transparent. In this way, each patient would be able to predict costs and prevent possible stressful situations.

What is House Bill 49?

House Bill 49 is legislation aimed at enforcing medical pricing transparency in Ohio hospitals. This bill requires hospitals to comply with a federal price transparency law by maintaining and publicly providing a list of standard charges for services that patients can schedule in advance.

The goal is to give Ohioans the ability to conduct their own healthcare research and make informed decisions regarding their medical services.

Key provisions of House Bill 49 include:

  • Price Transparency Compliance: Hospitals must publish and maintain a list of standard charges for scheduled services, ensuring that patients have access to this information.
  • Penalties for Non-Compliance: Hospitals that fail to comply with these requirements would face penalties.
  • Protection from Medical Debt Reporting: The bill would prevent medical debt collectors from sharing or reporting any patient medical debt to an agency for one year after the patient’s first bill.

The bill is intended to reinforce existing federal regulations at the state level, providing an additional layer of protection for patients in Ohio. It ensures that even if federal enforcement lapses, state law will still require hospitals to adhere to these transparency standards.

If a legislative agreement is reached and the bill is signed by Governor Mike DeWine, these measures would become mandatory for all hospitals in Ohio.

Empowering Patients

Understanding hospital costs upfront can empower patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare. When prices are transparent, patients can compare costs across different hospitals and choose options that best fit their budget.

This is particularly important in Ohio, where healthcare costs can vary significantly between hospitals.

 For example, an inpatient day at an Ohio hospital can be quite more expensive than the national average.  

With clear pricing, patients are no longer in the dark about the financial implications of their medical decisions.

This empowerment can lead to better financial planning and reduced anxiety about unexpected medical bills.

Reducing Medical Debt

Medical debt is a pervasive issue in Ohio, often leading to severe financial consequences for patients. According to a report by FCW Legal, unpaid medical bills can severely impact credit scores, sometimes by as much as 100 points or more.

Hospital price transparency can play a crucial role in mitigating this problem. By knowing the cost of procedures and treatments in advance, patients can avoid the shock of exorbitant bills and manage their finances more effectively.

Transparent pricing can also encourage patients to seek necessary medical care without the fear of unknown costs spiraling into unmanageable debt.

Improving Healthcare Market Efficiency

Improving Healthcare Market Efficiency - Hospital Price Transparency

Transparent pricing can also drive competition among hospitals, leading to a more efficient healthcare market. When prices are openly available, hospitals are incentivized to offer competitive rates to attract patients.

This competition can result in lower costs and improved quality of care. For Ohio patients, this means access to high-quality healthcare services at more affordable prices.

Additionally, transparency can help eliminate the disparities in pricing that currently exist, ensuring that all patients receive fair treatment regardless of where they seek care.

For instance, the cost of urgent care visits can vary widely, with basic visits ranging from $100 to $150, according to Esurgentcare.com. Transparent pricing helps patients choose the most cost-effective options.

Challenges of Implementing Price Transparency

Despite the clear benefits, implementing price transparency in Ohio’s hospitals is not without challenges. One significant hurdle is the complexity of medical billing. Healthcare services often involve numerous components, each with its own cost.

Simplifying these costs into a single, understandable price is a daunting task. Furthermore, hospitals may face resistance from within, as some may fear that transparent pricing could expose their higher costs compared to competitors. Overcoming these challenges requires a concerted effort from hospital administrations, policymakers, and advocacy groups.

Policy Efforts and Legislative Actions

Hospital Price Transparency - Policy Efforts and Legislative Actions

In Ohio, recent legislative actions have been geared toward enforcing price transparency in hospitals. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), enforcing price transparency laws could bring significant benefits to the healthcare market.

Policies mandating that hospitals disclose their prices can help standardize costs and make them more predictable for patients. These laws can also facilitate the comparison of prices across different healthcare providers, fostering a competitive environment that benefits patients.

Enhancing Trust

Did you know that average Cost of Health Insurance is $535 per month if you pay full price; $81 per month if you qualify for subsidies based on your income.

Transparent pricing fosters trust between patients and healthcare providers. When patients know upfront what they will be charged, it reduces the anxiety and uncertainty associated with medical bills.

This trust is essential for a positive patient-provider relationship and encourages patients to seek necessary medical care without fear of hidden costs.

Real-Life Impact on Ohioans

For many Ohioans, the push for hospital price transparency is more than just a policy issue; it’s a matter of financial survival. Stories from patients who have faced insurmountable medical bills highlight the urgent need for transparent pricing.

For instance, unexpected high costs for routine procedures have left some Ohio families in financial distress, unable to pay for essential services. By adopting transparent pricing, hospitals can build trust with their communities and ensure that patients are not blindsided by their medical expenses.

Hospital Price Transparency - Real-Life Impact on Ohioans

Health Insurance Context in Ohio

Understanding the cost and quality of health insurance is crucial for making informed healthcare decisions. Here’s a detailed look at health insurance in Ohio:

  • Cheapest Health Insurance Companies:
    • Molina: Silver plans starting at $398 per month.
    • SummaCare: $414 per month.
    • AultCare: $429 per month.
    • CareSource: $432 per month.
    • Oscar: $434 per month.
    • Anthem: $439 per month.
    • Ambetter: $443 per month.
    • UHC: $444 per month.
    • MedMutual: $463 per month.
    • Paramount: $522 per month.
  • Best Health Insurance Companies:
    • UHC: Best overall, affordable plans, good customer satisfaction, high-quality coverage.
    • Anthem: Best for access to a wide selection of doctors and hospitals. Most popular with more than a third of the state having a plan from Anthem.
    • Paramount: High plan quality rating of 5.0.
    • SummaCare: Good balance of cost and quality.
    • Molina: Cheapest, but with lower plan quality rating.
  • Cost Variation by Age:
    • Age 21: Catastrophic – $245, Bronze – $344, Silver – $419, Gold – $472.
    • Age 40: Catastrophic – $314, Bronze – $440, Silver – $535, Gold – $603.
    • Age 60: Catastrophic – $666, Bronze – $934, Silver – $1,136, Gold – $1,281.

Health insurance rates vary widely based on factors such as age and coverage level. Seniors pay more than younger people due to the increased likelihood of needing ongoing medical care. Additionally, lower-income individuals may qualify for subsidies that significantly reduce their monthly premiums.


Hospital price transparency is crucial for Ohio patients, offering empowerment, reduced medical debt, and a more efficient healthcare market. For an average Ohioan with a $53,000 salary, knowing that an inpatient day can cost more than the national average helps in budgeting and preparation.

Choosing the right health insurance is vital. Molina offers the cheapest silver plans at $398 per month. SummaCare at $414 per month and Anthem at $439 per month provide a good balance of cost and quality.

Younger individuals benefit from lower rates, with a 21-year-old’s Bronze plan costing around $344 per month, while seniors face higher premiums, with a 60-year-old’s Silver plan costing approximately $1,136 per month.

 Read More: Explore how firearm regulation and mental health initiatives can address Ohio’s rising homicide and suicide rates

Comparing hospital prices and selecting the best health insurance plans ensures financial stability. Legislative efforts and advocacy are key to achieving price transparency, promoting fairness and equity in healthcare, and ensuring patients receive respect and honesty.