What is a Fair Price for your health care needs?

Hospital Charges can vary widelyAccording to a new report from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, there are vast differences in how much you will pay depending on which hospital you use. Where one might charge $7,000 for a procedure, another just down the road may charge $100,000 or more for the same care quality. (see Secret Hospital Charges)

Now there are ways to find the Fair Price on your own. One is like the Kelly Blue Book of healthcare, and it’s appropriately called Healthcare Blue Book. If you’re dealing with some major healthcare procedures, it’s certainly worth checking out. It never hurts to get informed when it comes to dealing with health care providers.

Some states are taking the service further. The Texas Department of Insurance, for example, has put together a Consumer Information Guide to help you find health insurance reimbursement rates. Using the billing codes for many common medical procedures, you can see the average costs for different regions in Texas and compare the average insurance coverage of in-network and out-of-network claims. This allows you to know the difference between the bill charged and reimbursed amount.

Shop Around

As the costs of healthcare rise and companies pass on most of the cost to employees through high-deductible policies, consumers are starting to learn about the cost differences and shop around. After all, they’ll pay out of pocket until they reach their deductible. And after that, they’ll pay a higher percent for out-of-network claims.

A surgeon that my wife visited last week also complained about the vastly different charges that hospitals charge for the same procedures, and he now tells his patients where they can go to save money. His fee for the surgery is the same, no matter where it’s done (in this case $250). The high costs are coming from the hospital and their still-secret agreements with insurers.

Please share any other resources that you’ve discovered in a comment below.

Why Does American Healthcare Cost So Much?

Many of the problems identified in this PBS video documentary will be resolved as health consumers learn to shop around and are equipped with the information they need to do so.

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