The Obama administration has given the go-ahead for a new cost-control strategy called “reference pricing.” It lets insurers and employers put a dollar limit on what health plans pay for some expensive procedures, such as knee and hip replacements.
Some experts worry that patients could be surprised with big medical bills they must pay themselves, undercutting financial protections in the new health care law. That would happen if patients picked a more expensive hospital — even if it’s part of the insurer’s network.
The administration’s decision affects most job-based plans as well as the new insurance exchanges.
Other experts say reference pricing will help check rising premiums.