If you’re a smart consumer, you price shop for groceries, cars, appliances, and clothing. Why not healthcare?
As you pay more out of pocket through your insurance plan and costs for procedures and treatments keep skyrocketing, you should.
But it’s been hard to do that. Unlike retailers, most hospitals and health providers don’t put price tags on what they’re paid for procedures and treatments. Insurers, likewise, don’t generally tell you what those negotiated amounts are.
If you can’t find the price, you can’t comparison shop as you would for a television. If you can’t comparison shop, you can’t help push prices down. “Getting prices out in the open is crucial to bringing prices down,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In addition, insurers don’t necessarily negotiate the same prices with different providers. In fact, prices for procedures can vary among providers widely, even in the same state.
Because the healthcare system has been so mysterious, so complex, Americans haven’t generally...
September 15, 2016
Janet O’Dell, RN