According to the Wall Street Journal, US healthcare systems and insurers must no longer use web search-blocking code to shield the costs of health procedures from appearing in online searches. The requirement by CMS came after reports that hospitals were obscuring pricing data.
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, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.