Price Tags On Healthcare? Only In Massachusetts

Without much fanfare, Massachusetts launched a new era of healthcare shopping last week. Anyone with private health insurance in the state can now go to his or her health insurer's website and find the price of everything from an office visit to an MRI to a Cesarean section. For the first time, healthcare prices are public.

Without much fanfare, Massachusetts launched a new era of healthcare shopping last week.

Anyone with private health insurance in the state can now go to his or her health insurer’s website and find the price of everything from an office visit to an MRI to a Cesarean section. For the first time, healthcare prices are public.

It’s a seismic event. Ten years ago, I filed Freedom of Information Act requests to get cost information in Massachusetts—nothing. Occasionally over the years, I’d receive manila envelopes with no return address, or secure .zip files with pricing spreadsheets from one hospital or another.

Then 2 years ago, Massachusetts passed a law that pushed health insurers and hospitals to start making this once-vigorously guarded information more public. Now as of October 1, Massachusetts is the first state to require that insurers offer real-time prices by provider in consumer-friendly formats.

Read the full article at Kaiser Health News: http://bit.ly/1riQJNj