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friday16 Apr 2021

Using Code to Hide Health Prices from Web Searches Is Barred by Regulators

Federal regulators said healthcare pricing data that health insurers must post under a new requirement shouldn’t be blocked from web searches, issuing new guidance after The Wall Street Journal reported that hospitals used special coding that shielded such information from Google and other search engines.

Under new federal requirements, both hospitals and insurers must reveal long-confidential pricing data, including the rates that insurers pay for services. Hospitals were supposed to post data at the start of this year, while insurers must comply beginning in 2022. The hospital industry had fought the requirement in court but lost.

The new guideline, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was released March 23, the day after the Journal’s article revealed that hundreds of hospital pricing-data websites included special coding that kept them from showing up in searches on Google


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