Nearly all hospitals will give you the price of parking. Barely any will give you the price of health care.

Wonkblog: Nearly all hospitals will give you the price of parking. Barely any will give you the price of health care.

Excerpt:

“The provision of parking prices would suggest that hospitals can indeed answer telephone queries about costs—when they want to,” authors Jillian Bernstein and Joseph Bernstein write.

This study is a follow up to another one that the latter Bernstein worked on, where he and his co-authors called hospitals to ask how much a hip replacement would cost. Like in this study, they found that about 10 percent were able to provide a price. The idea here was to test out whether that had to do with the complexity of the procedure. A hip replacement’s price could vary if, for example, there was an unexpected complication.

This new ECG study suggests that its really not about the complexity–that, overall, hospitals just aren’t good at providing prices.

“Hospitals seem able to provide prices when they want to; yet for even basic medical services, prices remain opaque,” Bernstein and Bernstein write. “Accordingly, medical insurance payment schemes that promote concern about prices without a commensurate increase in price transparency are apt to be ineffective.”

One thought on “Nearly all hospitals will give you the price of parking. Barely any will give you the price of health care.

  1. Frank Eggers

    For elective surgeries, it should be possible to contact a hospital to get the price. It should also be possible to determine the quality and safety of the procedures provided; price is not the only criterion to be considered.

    However, there are situations where shopping for price just is not impossible. How many of us who require an emergency appendectomy would take time to call several hospitals to compare prices? What if we had been in an accident and were unconscious?

    It would also be helpful if hospitals had to swallow the cost of treating hospital acquired infections and other complications.

    Being able to compare prices would be a step in the right direction, but its usefulness would be limited.

    Reply

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