When it comes to lowering medical costs - the power can be in your hands! (Would you believe it? Because it doesn’t always feel that way…). The old motto about the customer always being right (customer = patient = you) is true. Shopping around can have a profound effect on the market, both in terms of pricing and level of quality. But this only matters IF you know you have options...
Price transparency in medicine is a relatively new concept. With payment of physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers done by insurance, most of us have never known how much a particular office visit, lab test or procedure actually costs. Those times are changing.
In the journal Health Affairs, a study titled “Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition” caught our eyes. (And not just because it was in the New York Times, though it was.) This study showed that when the cost of an MRI was known, going to the less costly provider happened more often. Makes perfect sense to us!
Price transparency makes sense because:
Reason number one: Patients aren’t always aware they have a choice in where to go for medical tests including imaging. Costs can vary greatly - sometimes by a factor of ten. If you pay a percentage of the cost of the test, the less a test costs, the less you pay. Simple math.
Reason number two: The math isn’t always simple though if you can’t get the numbers. Getting accurate pricing information can be a challenge, particularly from hospitals and large health-care enterprises. Does the price include all charges? Sometimes impossible to tell until after the billing starts. We believe getting accurate, complete pricing information on the tests you are about to undergo is your right.
Price transparency in medicine - the time has come.
Originally published 9/29/14 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.