Availability of prices for shoppable services on hospital internet sites

Peter Cram, Elliot Cram, Joseph Antos, Dean F. Sittig, Ajay Anand, Yue Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: A regulation from CMS required that, starting January 1, 2021, all US hospitals publicly display the cash price and minimum and minimum negotiated charge for 300 “shoppable services.” We evaluated compliance with CMS requirements among highly respected US hospitals. STUDY DESIGN: We conducted a cross-sectional study of hospital websites. METHODS: We evaluated the public websites of the 20 hospitals listed in the 2020-2021 US News & World Report honor roll between February 1 and February 14, 2021. We selected 2 imaging studies (brain MRI and abdominal ultrasound) and 3 hospital services (cardiac valve surgery, total joint replacement, and vaginal childbirth). For each service and hospital, we determined whether the discounted cash price and minimum negotiated charge were displayed and, if displayed, what the prices were. RESULTS: Among our 20 hospitals, 13 (65%) displayed the cash prices for the MRI and ultrasound, 8 (40%) for valve surgery, 10 (50%) for joint replacement, and 10 (50%) for childbirth. Only 1 (5%) displayed the minimum negotiated price for the 2 imaging studies and none for any of the hospital services. The mean (range) cash price for MRI was $3793 ($464-$6215) and for ultrasound was $767 ($136-$1391). The mean (range) cash price for cardiac surgery was $236,125 ($72,250-$349,782); for joint replacement, $46,008 ($22,170-$71,985); and for childbirth, $19,568 ($7314-$29,068). CONCLUSIONS: In an early assessment, a significant percentage of US hospitals were not in compliance with new price transparency legislation. Moreover, there is wide variation in prices among hospitals for identical services. These price differences suggest the potential for significant cost savings for patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E426-E428
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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