Published July 28th, 2015 by Stephanie
In a recent report by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, 45 states out of 50 got an F regarding the transparency of health care prices. The only exceptions were Vermont and Virginia with Cs, Maine and Colorado with Bs, and New Hampshire alone received an A.
The field of medicine has a lot of elements that discourage the competition you’d see between grocery stores or car dealerships. While you can afford to shop around and compare food prices at various groceries, or even check online and have your meals delivered to your door, when your appendix is about to burst you can’t afford the time to check every hospital in a 50-mile radius to see how much they charge for an appendectomy. Your appendix needs to come out right away, and it needs to happen at the first place you can reach.
By keeping their prices opaque, some hospitals set the prices of their tests and procedures to arbitrary levels, prices they can then bargain down to reasonable numbers when they negotiate with health insurance providers. This makes the providers happy since they think they’ve wrangled a steep discount, and by keeping these deals confidential hospitals can potentially make better deals (for them) with other providers.
While hospitals and insurance companies may benefit from this markup system, the uninsured and underinsured are left out in the cold. Without anyone to negotiate for them, they are forced to pay full price for hospital visits that may actually cost one tenth of what shows up on their bill. And even if that’s not the case, the public has no way of knowing since most hospitals don’t disclose their list prices and most insurance providers don’t disclose their negotiated prices.
Legislators and institutions like the HCI3 are pushing for more transparent pricing because it can add a level of competition that’s currently missing from the health care system, particularly for voluntary procedures like colonoscopies and other preventative measures. By going transparent, hospitals can be held to similar prices for similar procedures, allowing even those patients with high deductibles to visit the doctor without spending their life savings.
Fortunately, USA Rx is already as transparent as we can be. Our pharmacy discount card does exactly what we promise it does: provide up to 75 percent off of the cash price of prescription medication at no cost to you. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it works even when your regular insurance doesn’t. If you’d like to contact us for further information, you can call 888-277-3911 or send us an email at [email protected].