COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Jim Butler (R – Oakwood) today applauded the inclusion of provisions designed to make healthcare costs more transparent in House Bill 52, the biennial budget for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  The new initiative is a key component in a comprehensive healthcare reform bill, House Bill 157 (Reps. Butler & Johnson, T.), which was introduced earlier this year and remains under consideration in the House of Representatives.  Rep. Butler offered the entirety of HB 157 as an amendment to the budget, and two key components, the Healthy Ohio Plan and health care price transparency, were ultimately adopted and signed into law by Governor John Kasich on Tuesday.


“As consumers, everything we buy, from houses, to cars, groceries, hotel rooms and haircuts has transparent costs,” said Representative Butler.  “We know up front what those costs will be, and that empowers us as consumers to make whatever choice is best for us.  One area where many of us spend a significant amount of money is on our healthcare, and, ironically, there is no upfront cost transparency for most healthcare services.  This key provision will rectify this situation and will enable Ohioans to have valuable information before making major spending decisions.”


The provision to House Bill 52 requires healthcare service providers to provide reasonable, good-faith cost estimates to consumers before they receive non-emergent services.  The estimates are to detail the following costs: the amount the service provider will charge the health plan issuer, including Medicare and Medicaid, the amount the health plan will be paying the service provider, and amount for which the consumer will ultimately be responsible.  The provision does not apply to emergency procedures due to the time sensitive and urgent nature of such procedures.  This provision of House Bill 52 takes effect on January 1, 2017.


“This cost transparency provision will harmonize very effectively with the Healthy Ohio Plan components that are part of the main operating budget,” said Rep. Butler.  “Now that costs will be transparent, and that there will be real incentives in place for non-disabled adults enrolled in Medicaid to control those costs, real progress can be made toward reducing our overall healthcare spending as a state.”

 
 
 
  
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