Royce Flippin wrote an article that I've been meaning to write for a long time. Titled "The Price is Right: How Greater Transparency Can Help Fix Our Health Care System," the article makes the case that consumers must know what the price of service is before it is rendered so that they can make an informed choice.
One of the reasons people pay so much for health care is that average people are not told what their fees will be at the time of service. And even if a patient takes it upon himself to ask, getting the full answer is far from easy: He can usually find out the basic charge for an office visit--but what about a scan or a lab test? And how about the cost of those prescription medications being swiftly scribbled down? Most likely, the doctor or his or her staff will tell the inquisitive patient he has to wait for his insurance statement--or worse, the bill--to arrive in the mail.
This is so true. I never know what something will cost before I get it in health care with the partial exception of my dentist. When he tells me how much work I need, I do get a predicted bill for the service. The dentist is forced to do this because he doesn't want to perform work that people can't pay for. It is in his interest to give me advance disclosure, so he does. Why doesn't this apply to all doctors?
In a future post, I want to post some examples of prices I've been charged for medical care that astonished me.