Clear As Mud: The Problem With Health Care Costs
We just read a story in the New York Daily News that really hit home with us. The author, Beverly Weintraub, has a teenage son who was rushed to the hospital after choking on a piece of turkey. The care he received was appropriate; the bill was anything but. As Weintraub writes,
The charges, in fact, were mind-boggling. A statement the hospital sent to my insurance company, Aetna, showed that Good Samaritan billed $22,214.92 for a four-hour emergency room visit that included a physical exam, sedation, endoscopy and extraction of the stuck food.
Even more astonishing, Aetna agreed to pay only $2,885.67 for the services — just 13% of the bill — and the hospital settled for that amount.
Why was there such a huge discrepancy in costs? Lack of transparency. Insurance companies have a good idea of what hospitals’ costs really are and can can use that information to bargain. Consumers, on the other hand, have no idea and no way to find out. In every state but California, hospitals aren’t required to post their fees, so patients can’t compare costs when they’re looking for care.
Part of our mission to change the health care system is to bring transparency back into the equation. Prices should be up front so that patients can make informed choices about their health care. It also eliminates billing surprises and collections hassles down the road.
We’re fighting the good fight with our “no insurance required” approach and working to bring real value to the services a patient receives. Whether you’re a patient, a provider, or an employer seeking to give your employees a great benefit, we invite you to support our cause.