Reader Opinion: Health care price transparency


The Trump administration recently issued rules compelling hospitals and insurers to provide patients with more accurate estimates of what elective procedures will cost. This will finally introduce market forces into the health care system and should help combat health care inflation. It is expected that the hospital and insurance industry will fight these changes in court. The rules are expected to go into effect January 2021.

Having a gallbladder removed or a back MRI can cost thousands of dollars. How far do people drive to save 3 cents on a gallon of gas or how many auto websites for people review before purchasing a used car? With the changes the consumer can truly purchase the most cost-effective care.

But you do not have to wait until then to start shopping for cost effective care. If you are in need of an elective procedure ask you doctor to help you find the most cost-effective place to have it done (colonoscopy, MRI, CT, eat tube, tonsillectomy, etc.) which may not be at the facility where they are employed. Ask your insurance provider to help you find alternatives at a better price with high quality.

Questions to ask include the name of the person who is giving you the information (write it down and keep a file). Also ask about added charges such as room and/or facility charges, doctor fees, anesthesiologist fees, x-ray or other scan fees. Also ask what the cash price would be, this is often discounted by 35-50% and that may keep costs below your deductible.

Dr. Bruce B. Cunningham


Breezy Point

Related Topics: HEALTHCARE
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