What Does Health Care Really Cost?

It's a simple idea, but a radical one. Let people know in advance how much health care will cost them-and whether they can find a better deal somewhere else.
Published Online: February 24, 2014

It’s a simple idea, but a radical one. Let people know in advance how much health care will cost them—and whether they can find a better deal somewhere else.

With outrage growing over incomprehensible medical bills and patients facing a higher share of the costs, momentum is building for efforts to do just that. Price transparency, as it is known, is common in most industries but rare in health care, where “charges,” “prices,” “rates” and “payments” all have different meanings and bear little relation to actual costs.

Unlike other industries, prices for health care can vary dramatically depending on who’s paying. The list prices for hospital stays and doctor visits are often just opening bids that insurers negotiate down. The deals insurers and providers strike are often proprietary, making comparisons difficult. Even doctors are generally clueless about what the tests, drugs and specialists they recommend will cost patients.


Read the full story here: http://on.wsj.com/1bEXuZ2

Source: Wall Street Journal

Feature
Recommended Articles
Measure definitions to estimate the effects of cost sharing on adherence to medications prescribed together (ie, concurrent adherence) are lacking.
The study found that the geriatric population in the United States receives prescriptions for mental health drugs at more than twice the rate that younger adults do, but they present a lower rate of seeking psychiatric care.
A study published in JAMA Oncology presents a new tool that can predict disease recurrence in oropharyngeal cancer patients.
Proposed mergers of Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna, raise questions of whether consumers will continue to see competition in health insurance markets.
Clinical pathways (CPs) are increasingly being utilized to improve quality of care and control healthcare costs in the United States. A new report from Avalere Health examines the development of CPs, use of evidence to inform their design, implementation processes, and their impact on quality of care, costs, and outcomes.