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In the new year, hospitals must post prices online

Posted at 8:17 PM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 07:34:42-05

CINCINNATI — Hospitals across the country are changing they way they do business with their patients - and that means you could benefit.

At the first of the year in 2019, hospitals will be required to post prices for their services online. The goal of this is to ensure patients are better informed on how much they're being charged and what they're expected to pay.

Online transparency is intended to help consumers shop around, like they would for other goods and services, before entering the hospital.

The new federal rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, and posting online pricing isn't the only thing hospitals have to do to comply: they must make electronic records more readily available as well.

Several local hospitals already disclose their prices online, but the amount you pay as a patient can vary greatly from hospital to hospital:

A one-night stay in a private room without insurance

  • Christ Hospital: $1,417
  • UCMC: $1,825
  • Mercy Hospital: starts at $2,184

A normal delivery of a newborn without insurance

  • Christ Hospital: $6,789
  • UCMC: $3,750
  • Mercy Hosptial: $5,259

Whether this new rule will have an overall effect on hospital pricing in the long run will remain to be seen.

"There are some hospitals that are terrible to stay at," said Amanda Schwalm, interviewed in downtown Cincinnati. "If you're getting better service and being charged for it, that's just a balance. You're going to pay more for better service, that's just how it is."