Congratulations, you’ve decided to purchase a new car or a new computer and want to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Within seconds, a quick Google search will display dozens of websites detailing fair market prices for your intended purchase, reviews on the product, best businesses to buy from, and more. After taking a few hours to parse through the detailed information, you feel good knowing you’ve made a smart and informed decision on your new purchase.
Now let’s attempt this with a healthcare service, say an M.R.I. Seems impossible, right? Hospitals and physician offices typically don’t post prices and if you have insurance, you’re usually held captive to providers in-network and nobody wants to deal with insurance providers over the phone.
How come we know where to get the best deals on cars and computers, but can’t get the same information on our healthcare services? While price transparency is apparent in nearly all industries, the healthcare industry has a notoriously complicated pricing and payment model that makes transparency more difficult than most realize. Insurers, billing codes, negotiated contracts, and more, create the perfect storm for necessary individual-case-basis (ICB) pricing.
Why is healthcare pricing so complicated? Should we be pushing for price transparency or will the efforts create more harm than good? Let’s break down the pros, cons, and possible solutions for price transparency in health care in our March blog post of 2018.