High quality care at low prices that you can shop through open pricing. Is transparency of healthcare costs the next stage of reform?
Your experience is likely something like this: You have a medical problem that needs to be taken care of you may or may not have insurance but you are more likely than ever to have a deductible for care that can be as high as $5000. While many employers will pay part of this, the rest is your problem and the cost is always more than it you can fathom. What’s wrong with this picture? Unfortunately, this is the reality for most of us having procedures, or even emergency room visits that have extraordinary price tags for a service that you cannot shop from a consumers point of view. While price transparency is present in many health care providers offices such as massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, psycho therapists to name a few, if you need the price of a medical procedure, good luck. Most doctors will not offer their prices until the insurance carrier gives you your explanation of benefits, and even then, other bills like the anasthesia, facility and other fees keep coming, often adding up to thousands of dollars for a procedure that may have taken an hour or less to perform.
A surgery center in Oklahoma breaks the model by posting prices that include the entire service. They have been using this for a few years and have made up for the lower pricing by adding efficiencies such as a higher volume of patients, fewer high priced administrators and applying business principals to an industry that has depended too long on other parties that paid these bloated bills that often make no sense. Imagine knowing you require bunyon surgery and you are told one price that does not have to be negotiated because it is up front, reasonable for the level of care given and honest.
Check out this report here
What do you think? Cost controls rarely work and insurance companies have made a mess by creating paperwork, red tape, excuses and procedures that simply add to the cost. The 10 minute doctors office visit comes to mind among ideas that have created a flood of referrals to higher priced specialists while the primary providers are squeezed. I doubt Obama care can compete with this type of reform however, are these the first cracks in the medical monopoly? We can only hope.