A claims database from all health insurers would but a great resource for researchers. States also want to use these data, however, to negotiate better prices. The question is, can a state legally compel health insurers to disclose prices?
That is what a court case from Vermont involves. The Incidental Economist writes:
the Supreme Court this morning agreed to hear Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual, a case with significant implications for the states’ authority over the health-care sector.
At issue in the case is whether Vermont can force health insurers—including employers that self-insure—to tell state officials the prices they pay for medical care. Vermont wants to put that information in an “all-payer claims database” to enable regulators and consumers to get a picture of how the health-care market operates in the state
On the one hand, pricing transparancy is generally a good thing. On the other hand, insurers are private businesses and it is unclear whether the government could or should force them to disclose these prices. Further, health insurers and their prices–to public payers at least–are highly regulated.
Another question is whether self-insured employers also have to disclose their prices.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Please add to the comments.