The majority of US states do not have laws that provide adequate healthcare price transparency, according to a new study co-authored by Caterina DiBiase, a 2020 graduate of the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy, for the Pioneer Institute.
DiBiase, who received her Master of Public Policy this month, was primary author of the report, “Status of Healthcare Price Transparency Across the United States,” which drew on work she did as a research assistant in healthcare policy at the Boston-based think tank. As a research assistant, DiBiase worked with Pioneer Institute senior fellows on a number of research projects on healthcare issues, including price transparency and direct primary care.
"I feel privileged to have worked on such a supportive team where I was able to ask so many questions and learn from those around me,” DiBiase said. “I think the issue of price transparency will only become more relevant, especially in this time of coronavirus."
The study looked at state laws that require that patients be provided information about their out-of-pocket costs before they obtain healthcare services. The authors assigned the state laws to one of three tiers, based on their rigor and thoroughness. Only six states (Massachusetts among them) were found to have “tier one” price transparency laws, defined by the study as those laws that require that all patients, whether or not they’re insured, have access to cost estimates from all providers. Thirty-three states fell into the lowest tier, either because they have no price-estimate laws or the laws they do have are so inadequate that they do not help consumers. The report also offered several recommendations to improve price transparency for healthcare consumers.
“Pioneer is very grateful to Caterina DiBiase for her invaluable and steadfast contribution to our survey and report of state transparency laws,” said Barbara Anthony, senior healthcare fellow at the Pioneer Institute. “Ms. DiBiase, as the main author, provided leadership and thoughtful written and data analysis. It was a pleasure to have her on our team."
DiBiase plans to pursue a career in healthcare policy in Boston or Washington, DC. (“Know anyone who is hiring?” she asked.) She received her bachelor's in political science and public health from UMass Amherst in 2019.
Read the report:
About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy prepares students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.
Contact: Maureen Turner, communications manager, School of Public Policy