Procedure? Problem. Parking? No Problem!

While I would expect parking to be cheaper than an electrocardiogram, I would also expect the hospital staff to be familiar with both prices.

It’s no surprise that hospitals are often tight lipped when discussing procedure prices, and there are plenty of excuses one could offer for these muffled answers.

“Just like you can’t call a contractor on the phone and ask ‘how much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?’ Maybe it would be unreasonable to expect a price quote on the phone for ‘remodeling’ your hip as well.”

That’s where Rosenthal study suffered. He called 120 hospitals. More than half couldn’t/wouldn’t offer pricing for a hip replacement, and the others gave prices ranging from $11,000 to over $125,000.

But what about more straightforward procedures like the electrocardiogram? Surely the answer could be clearer, right? Basically the only different in price would be “insurance or self-pay?”

Wrong.

Researchers called 20 hospitals in the Philadelphia area to collect electrocardiogram pricing. Only three gave answers: $137, $600, and $1,200.

So patients couldn’t even conclude a general price for the area, they’re all so different.

Why couldn’t the others give prices? We’re not sure. Nineteen out of the 20 could discuss parking pricing over the phone, even offered discounts for visitors.

Bernstein believes its up to the patients to change this attitude on price transparency. People today are simply accepting that they won’t know the price of their hospital stay until they’re ready to leave. He says people should “get in the habit of asking, ‘if you don’t mind, please tell me what that will cost.’”

In a world that’s cloudy, price transparency should be clear and connected with quality transparency as well. You can find that on SaveOnMedical.com, a site where you can request appointments for radiology procedures and lock in the price right as you see it on the screen.

You can also find the full article from the Global Post here.