HealthDay News — US hospitals will have to post their standard prices online and make it easier for patients to access their electronic medical records, Medicare officials said Tuesday.

Currently, hospitals must make their prices public, but the new rule requires the information to be posted online in a format that can be easily processed by computers, the Associated Press reported.

However, hospitals’ standard prices are not what insurers and government programs pay, so it’s unclear how useful consumers will find the online pricing information.

Many health care providers already give patients access to their electronic medical records, but hospitals’ Medicare payments will be partly based on how easy they make it for patients to get those records. That requirement begins in 2021, the Associated Press reported.

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CMS proposes changes to empower patients and reduce administrative burden [press release]. Baltimore, MD: U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Published April 24, 2018. Accessed April 26, 2018.