Close up image of a caretaker helping older woman walk

A final rule issued Monday will allow Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries access to information about costs and quality of care information about various providers, regulators say.

As required by the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a proposed rule designed to help beneficiaries make more informed decisions in June. The final rule, effective Jan. 6, 2012, gives qualified organizations and beneficiaries access to reports about providers, such as nursing homes, hospitals and physicians. The reports will be a combination of private sector and Medicare claims data, and patients’ identities will be protected. 

According to the rule, “qualified entities may receive data for one or more specified geographic areas and must pay a fee equal to the cost of making the data available.”

The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Dec. 7. Click here to read the full rule.