Trending News Today: Former Health Secretaries Urge Lawmakers to Stabilize Individual Exchanges

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A new study found that many patients do not shop around for better prices on healthcare services. In the survey, more than half of patients knew what their costs would be in advance, but only 13% of those who did not know their costs ahead of time made an attempt to predict out-of-pocket spending, according to Kaiser Health News. The investigators also found that only 3% of participants compared prices for multiple providers prior to the service. While a large majority of respondents reported that costs were important, few comparison shopped or asked how much they would owe before the appointment, according to Kaiser.

In California, there will be a single insurer participating in the state’s individual marketplace, as Anthem Blue Cross of California has exited much of the market, according to California Healthline. For patients insured through Covered California, this could mean that they will not have access to their usual physicians or face increased costs. California’s exchange has been said to keep premiums low and improve access to care through competition among plans, but Anthem’s exit could threaten these gains, according to the article.

Former Democratic and GOP health secretaries have urged President Donald Trump and Congress to make stabilizing the individual marketplaces their top priority, according to The New York Times. The health experts—Kathleen Sebelius, Mike Leavitt, and Tommy Thompson— advise that this issue should be addressed immediately and for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the former health secretaries suggest that the Trump administration should provide clarity regarding the future of subsidies, which reduce costs for lower-income Americans, the Times reported.