Cash Prices for Medical Care

CRAIN'S COMMENTS

The US Congress mandated in January that medical facilities be required to quote cash prices for services on request.

Why does that matter?

  • First, some consumers don’t have medical insurance or have high deductible plans that require them to pay as much as $7,000 or more before insurance will cover anything.
  • Second, medical costs vary dramatically between doctors and hospitals. Nothing is standardized. We’re not talking about regional differences in cost. Instead, these are real differences in costs between providers in the same city.
  • The cash prices tend to be very dramatically lower than the prices providers quote to insurers. This is part of a negotiation game the medical community and insurers play — providers raise prices knowing that insurers will knock them down. However, the cash prices — intended for consumers, not insurers — can be as much as 80% to 90% less than the “list price”.
  • Hospital billing…

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