Insurers press for more time to respond to transparency rule, say changes could disrupt market

stethoscope, coins and calculator
A duo of insurance industry groups is imploring the Trump administration to delay a comment period for a major insurance rule. (Getty/mckare)

Top insurance industry groups are imploring the Trump administration to delay a comment period on a proposed rule that would force payers to provide real-time out-of-pocket cost estimates.

America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association wrote to the Trump administration seeking a 90-day delay to a comment period for the proposed rule released last month. Comments are due in January, and the groups want the period postponed until April.

Because insurers believe the rule will cause “significant disruption” to healthcare markets, the groups “are concerned that development of thoughtful, constructive comments will not be possible under the current 60-day timeframe,” the letter, released Wednesday, said.

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Last month, the Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services departments released a proposed rule that requires insurers to give personalized, real-time estimates of expected out-of-pocket costs to patients. It would also require insurers to publicly post the rates for in-network providers, devices and drugs including historic spending amounts on out-of-network providers.

Insurers balked at the bulk of information the agencies are requesting.

“The sheer volume of data that the government is proposing health plans disclose is staggering—dollar amounts for every single item or service, for every single provider and facility, for every single individual and employer plan,” the letter to the three agencies said.

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The rule also asks for feedback on how the new regulations will affect value-based care arrangements such as accountable care organizations. Both payers and providers have sharply criticized several moves by the Trump administration to boost price transparency.

A group of hospitals announced Wednesday a lawsuit against the administration to stop a final rule requiring facilities to post payer-negotiated rates for certain hospital services.