Hospitals Have Started Posting Their Prices Online. Here's What They Reveal
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NPR
Posted: July 11th, 2021
A colonoscopy might cost you or your insurer a few hundred dollars — or several thousand, depending on which hospital or insurer you use. Long hidden, such price variations are supposed to be available in stark black and white under a Trump administration price transparency rule that took effect at the start of this year. It requires hospitals to post a range of actual prices — everything from the rates they offer cash-paying customers to costs negotiated with insurers. While imperfect and potentially of limited use right now to the average consumer, the disclosures that are available illustrate the huge differences in prices — nationally, regionally and within the same hospital. Prices are all over the map. In Virginia, for example, the average price of a diagnostic colonoscopy is $2,763, but the range across the state is from $208 to $10,563. Patients can try to find the price information themselves by searching hospital websites, but even locating the correct tab on a hospital's website is tricky. But if you do want to try, here's one tip: "You can Google the hospital name and the words 'price transparency' and see where that takes you," says Caitlin Sheetz, director and head of analytics at the consulting firm ADVI Health. When it comes to compliance, "we're seeing the range of the spectrum," says Jeffrey Leibach, a partner at the consulting firm Guidehouse, which found earlier this year that about 60% of 1,000 hospitals surveyed had posted at least some data, but 30% had reported nothing at all.
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