Today's News and Commentary

About health insurance

Trump administration plans to require hospitals to list 'shoppable' prices: Yesterday President Trump issued an executive order to make healthcare prices more transparent. Among its provisions is for HHS to come up with a proposal for providers and insurers to let patients know what their out of pocket expenses will be before treatment. The rules would not start until, at soonest, 90 days. The real impact will not be on patients’ choice of care based on cost, there is ample evidence that such an impact is small. Instead, the “big reveal” will be differences in how much different payers pay providers; in effect, no more confidential pricing agreements.

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For a “deeper dive” read the Washington Post story

Employers’ top health care priority: offer choice and decision support tools to meet employees’ diverse benefit needs: This survey from WillisTowersWatson found that “over the next three years, three-in-four employers (75%) are prioritizing efforts to provide employees with the tools they need to make smart benefit choices and personalize a benefit package that best suits their situation. Today, just over half of employers (55%) provide benefit decision tools.” While customization is apparently good, It does add to the administrative costs. Employees should be able to make that tradeoff as well.

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About pharma

AbbVie buying Allergan for $63 billion: This purchase is today’s biggest business story.

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