I was checking out this article in Vox Magazine, its about a family who was charged $25,000 for an MRI from her local hospital in California, where comparable procedures cost just over a thousand dollars. The article goes on to address the cost for the same procedure in other countries where patients would pay about 75% less. It should be immediately obvious how important healthcare cost comparison is.
We know that prices for healthcare in America are extortionately high. We know that you can get far cheaper care if you look outside of our borders. I’m not going to argue that fact, or even discuss it, because that information is available anywhere that you look. Instead what I want to talk about is the secrecy surrounding prices. I maintain that the biggest problem in our industry is that people don’t know what they’re getting for their money, because they don’t know what anything costs.
I used to think that blindly spending money was reserved for the wealthy, but I now realize that it’s just reserved for the American healthcare user. And it doesn’t feel like the luxury that I thought it would be.
We like to tell ourselves that our healthcare system is the best in the world because its competitive, its industrial! But if nobody knows what they’re paying for, is it competitive? Does a hospital have to price match with its competitors or fear losing business? They don’t. They can charge what they want, because you’re probably not going to find out about the price until after the procedure is already finished.
What To Do
Compare healthcare costs on transparency sites
You can use a number of sites like guroo.com to compare costs of healthcare procedures. You can check on the success of a particular physician and see what reviews of the actual clinic are like. Comparison sites actually comb through millions of bills. They find out what the medical treatment centers are actually billing, not just what insurance companies say is a “fair” price.
Spend time shopping around for medication
We did an article solely on this here. Healthcare cost comparison includes medications. You’d be shocked about how much the price of medications vary by pharmacy. Doing a little bit of digging around and comparing can have massive implications and save you more than you’d ever think. It’s very much worth your while to look around.
Check your insurance provider
Most insurance providers don’t want to pay more for a procedure than they have to. They actually have some really successful tools that are provided to plan members for free. These tools often include healthcare cost comparison and quality comparisons for various doctors and care facilities. They provide a lot of information based on what’s available in your network. I would always recommend that people turn to your insurance provider first and foremost because this resource is available free to you.