According to a December 22, 2006 press release by the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society, 25,000 Philadelphia area doctors, chiropractors, therapists and others who provide care for patients insured by Independence Blue Cross (IBC) were notified by e-mail that they will now be able to view IBC’s fee schedule online. Disclosure of its standard fee schedule is one of the terms IBC agreed to in settlement of a 2001 class action settlement.
For many physicians and other providers in the Philadelphia region who are paid on the standard fee schedule, this information should serve as a useful tool to ensure that they are receiving full reimbursement. However, although IBC is required to disclose its standard fee schedule, they are still free to negotiate special fee schedules on a case by case basis and they have no obligation to disclose these special arrangements. Nevertheless, when it comes to third party payor arrangements, the more transparency the better.