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Issue Brief
August 2014

Price Transparency in Health Care: An Introduction

By:
Lydia Mitts

Prices for the same health care service can vary dramatically depending on the provider. More expensive providers do not necessarily deliver higher-quality care. And it can be nearly impossible for consumers to get enough information to compare providers based on both price and quality, or to get accurate estimates of how much they will have to pay before they get the bill.

Making information on health care prices and quality accessible and easy to understand will help consumers compare costs, choose high-value providers, and anticipate their expenses. It will also help policymakers and others hold health care providers accountable for setting fair prices. There are several efforts underway at the federal and state levels to improve price transparency in our health care system.

Price Transparency in Health Care: An Introduction (PDF) explains these issues in more depth.