The few people who have researched hospital prices online within the past six months were slightly more likely to erroneously believe that hospitals aren't required to post price information online.
Only 9% of adults are aware that hospitals are required to disclose prices on their websites, and most aren't researching healthcare prices anyhow, finds a new KFF Health Tracking Poll. That's true even among chronically ill patients, who would benefit most from researching costs.
Perhaps more startling? Even the few people who have researched hospital prices online within the past six months were no more likely to know about the price transparency requirements than people who haven't conducted online price research. In fact, they were slightly more likely to erroneously believe that hospitals aren't required to post price information online.
Between hospitals' spotty and "selective" compliance and how hard it is to make "apples-to-apples" price comparisons across hospitals, these poll results are the latest indication that CMS's hospital price transparency rule isn't working the way it was intended too.
Continue Reading: Analysis: CMS Price Transparency Rule Not Working as Intended
According to the poll, 69% of adults are unsure whether hospitals are required to disclose the prices of treatments and procedures. Another 22% believe that hospitals are not required to disclose this information.
Only 9% are aware hospitals are required to disclose the prices of treatments and procedures on their websites.
When asked whether they or a family member had researched online price information before a hospital treatment, 85% said they had not, which is consistent with findings from prior years.
The poll found that 14% of adults reported that they or a family member went online in the past six months to research the price of a treatment at a hospital.
That percentage was higher among younger adults between 18-29 years old (23%) and those between 30-49 years old (16%) than older adults ages 50-64 (10%) and 65 and older (9%).
Adults with higher household incomes (19% with incomes between $40,000-$89,999 and 17% with incomes $90,000 and higher), were also slightly more likely to have searched price information online, compared to adults with household incomes below $40,000 (11%).
Searching for prices didn't boost awareness of the requirements, either.
In fact, 33% of adults who did search for hospital prices were more likely to incorrectly say there's no requirement, compared to 20% of adults who didn't search for prices online and believe there's no requirement.
Continue Reading: Study Finds 'Selective Compliance' with Price Transparency Rule
That finding makes sense, given other research showing widespread noncompliance and hospitals trying to hide their price information online.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.