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New House Republican Caucus
Contact: Andy Gildea
REP. MUNSON INTRODUCES the “RIGHT TO SHOP” bill
Price transparency measure has led to lower health care prices in other states.
[ST. PAUL, MN, February 8, 2019]
This week Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican-Lake Crystal) introduced a bill that would increase price transparency in health care and reward people who shop for care. Munson is the chief author of HF638 and has obtained the support of over 20 house members as co-authors. Munson said, “This bill allows for patients to choose a doctor based on both price and quality, instead of where insurance companies dictate we go.”
The bill is known as the “Right to Shop” bill and allows patients to receive treatment outside of their insurance network. The doctor will be paid up to the amount of the in-network price, and, if the service is found to be less expensive than the average price in the area, the patient will receive at least 50% of the savings. For example, if the average price for an MRI in the area is $3,200 and a patient receives the imaging from a clinic for $2,000, the insurance company must deposit at least 50% of the savings, or $600, into a savings account. The savings can be used towards future co-pays, deductibles or insurance premiums.
The types of services that would be subject to new price transparency requirements in the bill are physical and occupational therapy, obstetrical and gynecological, radiology and imaging, infusion therapy as well and inpatient and outpatient surgery and diagnostic tests and procedures.
“Right now,” said Rep. Munson, “there is no incentive for patients to shop around for the best value for their healthcare dollar.” He continued, “My bill would change that to require health plans to keep track of when their enrollees shop for a better price for a procedure and find one that costs less.” “The money they save will be shared between themselves and the plan, which can use it to lower healthcare costs system-wide.” The enrollee can use the money as a credit toward their deductible or premium bill. “It’s a win-win for the insurer and the insured” he added.
Incentive-based programs exist in Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
“High prices are devastating for those with chronic conditions, especially for those in rural Minnesota where insurance options are limited,” said Munson. “But those with chronic conditions are in the best position to shop around to find the best value for their health care dollar if they have an incentive to do so. My bill helps to align those goals with a better outcome for everyone” Munson concluded.
Munson championed health care price transparency in 2018, with legislation signed into law requiring pricing of the most frequently billed services to be made public. Unlike recent federal changes requiring rack rates be made public, Munson’s legislation displays more accurate costs patients will be charged for services, based on their health insurer and plan.
The NHRC is led by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (Republican-Mazeppa). It includes Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-East Bethel), Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg), and Rep. Jeremy Munson (Republican-Lake Crystal).