Prices for hospitals’ standard services to be made public online in 2019

WASHINGTON -- Price transparency is coming to U.S. hospitals in the new year.

A new federal rule will require all hospitals to post an online list of the cost of their standard services. Patients will be able to compare prices before seeking treatment.

The government said it hopes a simple master list of prices will help prevent sticker shock when the bill comes. Officials also hope the new requirement will help drive medical prices down through competition.

Some consumer advocates say even though those lists will be beneficial, it doesn't do enough to inform patients about adjusted and sometimes increased costs due to insurance and other factors.

Those prices are expected to be available online Jan. 1.

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