Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Healthcare:  That CT Scan Costs How Much?

If gas stations worked like health care, you wouldn't find out until the pump switched off whether you paid $3 or $30 a gallon. If clothes shopping worked like health care, you might pay $80 for a pair of jeans at your local boutique and $400 for the identical pair at the nearest department store—-and the clothes wouldn't have price tags on them.

"Why can't you or I as a consumer ask what it's going to cost and be met with something other than a blank stare?" asks Will Fox, a principal with Milliman, a national health actuarial consulting firm. The answer, he says, is that neither providers nor health insurers really want consumers to have that information.

Here's why: The contracted prices that health plans negotiate with providers in their networks have little or nothing to do with the actual quality of services provided and everything to do with the relative bargaining power of the providers.

For more, see That CT Scan Costs How Much?, July, 2012 at Consumer Reports.

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