The Tribune recently finished its general registration period and was disappointed with the results. While the health plan premiums remained the same, deductibles increased significantly by 66% year over year, and the amount of insurance coverage for each treatment decreased by 10%. This increase in healthcare costs is a trend seen across America, and it is expected to continue.
To combat rising healthcare costs, individuals are turning to cost transparency resources. Utah has a full copayment system billing database that records all bills sent to insurance companies. The database can provide information about procedures, drugs, and costs. However, the data is often difficult to compare and is currently out of date on the state’s website. Patients can also visit individual hospital websites to obtain an estimate of surgery costs.
Although cost transparency resources are available, they have not proven to be effective in reducing healthcare costs. In fact, states with all-payer claims databases tend to have higher healthcare costs than those without. Additionally, weak market competition and no all-payer claims databases have been found to have the lowest hospital costs. These findings indicate that the free-market approach to reducing healthcare costs is not working.
Despite the limitations of cost transparency, organizations like the Utah Medical Data Commission remain committed to transparency and understanding the current state of healthcare in Utah. The commission needs to recognize the need for major changes to the current system to make healthcare costs affordable for all individuals.