The 2017 Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 20 requesting a study of transparency in health care pricing. The study was the top-ranked study in a post-session poll asking legislators to prioritize the 20 study resolutions approved in 2017.
HJR 20 asks that the committee look into the following items:
factors influencing the cost of health care services, including differences attributable to different delivery system models;
efforts undertaken in other states and by organizations within Montana to make health care cost information more widely available to consumers;
ways to improve consumer understanding of the different factors affecting the costs that are charged and the costs they must pay;
ways to encourage consumers to make informed health care decisions;
existing price transparency tools and health quality measures;
ways to ensure that price transparency efforts give consumers information about both costs and quality of services; and
the role of the state in improving health care price transparency.
The committee decided at its June 2017 meeting to have a subcommittee made up of legislators and members of the public work on this study during the interim. Rep. Kathy Kelker was appointed presiding officer of the subcommittee, which met for the first time on Sept. 12, 2017. At that meeting, members focused on trends and factors in health care costs. At a January 2018 meeting, members reviewed pricing and reimbursement for health care services and also learned about model cost reduction plans. In February, the committee discussed items that consumer want to know about health care prices, learned about the complexity of the medical billing process, and reviewed existing transparency tools operated by health care providers and insurers.
The committee will hold its final meeting on March 21, when it expects to decide on what actions to recommend to the full Children and Families Committee.