Price Transparency: Hiding Behind the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

For those of you that read this blog, you know by now that BuildMyBod, the host of this blog, represents price transparency in the world of cosmetic surgery. Want to know how much cosmetic surgery will cost before going in for a lengthy consultation with your plastic surgeon? You come to BuildMyBod to find your plastic surgeon and check out the costs before going in and thereby avoid sticker shock.

 

Now BuildMyBod is expanding into the world of price transparency for medically necessary tests or healthcare expenditures that you often have to pay out-of-pocket. Tests and expenditures such as lab tests, X-rays, orthotic shoes, even removing lead-based paint is considered a healthcare expense that may be paid out-of-pocket!
Price transparency has been a big buzz word for a while now. So why not more transparency, still after all these years? Providers (doctors like me), hospitals and insurance companies have various reasons for why they may not want to or may not be able to provide all of their prices up front, but I want to highlight an interesting reason why they may not be providing transparent pricing: The Uniform Trade Secrets Act of 1979.

 

This Act was meant to provide trade secret protection for companies in all 50 states. Since insurance companies negotiate rates for various tests and procedures with doctors, hospitals and other outpatient facilities, the powers-that-be that could publish these negotiated rates are invoking the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and stating that negotiated rates are protected as trade secrets! While this may not have been the intended purpose of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, this appears to be one of its unintended applications.

 

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