Hospitals and medical practices are making strides toward more consumer-focused healthcare in the wake of recent federal regulations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed new rules about how hospitals must share pricing information. The goal is to avoid “surprise medical bills,” or unexpected charges faced by insured patients when a member of a healthcare team that treated them is considered an out-of-network provider.

Hospitals are now required to be transparent about the items and services they offer and how much they’ll cost by publishing “chargemasters,” or list prices for both gross charges and payer-specific negotiated charges.

However, hospital chargemasters are very difficult to decipher because they include thousands of individual hospital services, often listed in incomprehensible abbreviations, that are of almost no relevance to the average consumer. Why? Because the average consumer doesn’t purchase individual services from hospitals and doesn’t know exactly what services they will need during their hospital visit.

How can a hospital comply with the regulations and make it easy for consumers to find price information?

The answer is simple. Give customers the information they want in a format they are familiar with. Take a retail approach by offering bundled pricing, personalized price quotes, and price comparison tools for shoppable healthcare services (which are common, widely available services that most patients pay most or part of).

By grouping health care products and services into units that patients understand, customers will know exactly what they are getting for their money. List bundled pricing information for core services (such as surgeon, facility and anesthesia fees), the price of start-to-finish procedures, and hospital stays (price per length of stay). Bundled pricing can be advertised online through pay-per-click advertising, paid social advertising or other digital marketing strategies.

Pre-visit, personalized price quotes will also help customers avoid the aforementioned “surprise medical bill.” They would also be helpful to insured patients, who never pay the full sticker price (listed on the chargemaster) of a service because insurance companies bargain with hospitals and doctors for discounted rates.

An online price comparison tool, available on a hospital’s website, would be a helpful healthcare marketing tool for patients to compare the cost of various tests and procedures based on their specific insurance information. This tool could also be advertised through various digital marketing campaigns.

Healthcare price transparency is happening now—and it’s changing the way hospitals and other providers market and advertise their services. Healthcare organizations that leverage these new regulations to integrate pricing into their healthcare marketing strategy, adjust their pricing to stay competitive, and advertise their most popular, most economical services will be most equipped to become industry leaders an era of price transparency and consumerism.

Learn more about healthcare transparency marketing by downloading our eBook or giving us a call to discuss how Millennium Agency can help your hospital or medical practice market your services in a way that will attract and retain potential customers.

About Millennium Agency

Millennium Agency is a national, award-winning, digital, creative, content/PR, and video marketing firm. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, our team unites creative branding and data analytics to accelerate our clients’ growth, while combining our clients’ vision with our marketing expertise to increase sales opportunities and drive brand success. From video advertising and web design to social media and PR, Millennium can guide your marketing efforts every step of the way. Contact the professionals at Millennium Agency to learn more!

Linda Fanaras is the President and Founder of Millennium Agency (www.mill.agency) located in Manchester, NH, and Boston. She can be reached at 877-873-7445 or lfanaras@mill.agency.