Two items in the news reflect the dilemma that health care consumers face on health care cost issues.
The Washington Post published advice from Dr. John Santa of Consumer Reports for people with health insurance but who “are facing large deductibles and also paying an increasingly large portion of the rest of the bill.”
But the Wall Street Journal reports on a Government Accounting Office report that showed:
“Consumers are usually unable to get accurate information about how much medical treatment will cost them before they receive it.
(The GAO) tried to get upfront estimates from a variety of hospitals in Denver for the price of a full knee-replacement surgery. They also approached several doctors for estimates for a diabetes screening.
None of the 19 hospitals surveyed could say what a patient with Medicare or a patient without insurance would have to pay for the knee-replacement surgery, the GAO reported. Of the 19 hospitals, two did not respond to inquiries, and 10 could not provide any price information at all. The rest offered broad ranges of potential charges, such as between $33,000 and $101,000, or an average charge, such as $82,000, based on the typical charge to an uninsured customer.”
The report concluded:
“This lack of health care price transparency presents a serious challenge for consumers who are increasingly being asked to pay a greater share of their health care costs.”
ADDENDUM: Just about a half hour after posting the above, I saw this Kaiser Health News story that also ties in: “Premiums, Deductibles And Cost Sharing In Employer Health Plans Keep Rising.”