The lack of price consistency among healthcare providers traps unsuspecting patients into paying too much — if they ever find out. Patients seldom know what something will cost before getting a procedure done. Since the system is shrouded in secrecy, it hinders efforts by consumers and employers to lower the nation’s health care costs. Medxoom’s proprietary comparison shopping technology helps patients chose high quality low cost providers before service to save money and improve outcomes.
From The Houston Chronicle:
“”Six months after the fact, Christine Jaschinski was still fighting a $4,223 charge for seven stitches. During the phone call, a billing clerk casually let something slip: “Yes, I know it’s expensive,” Jaschinski said she was told, “but if you pay up-front it would be less.” As it turned out, the upfront cash cost would have been $200.
Hospitals, out-patient centers, medical practices and free-standing emergency rooms spit out a number —the initial billed charge— which is often many times more than what they expect to collect, say health policy experts. What facilities eventually get paid often bears little resemblance to the original charges, varying wildly from patient to patient and venue to venue for the exact same treatment.
Hospitals and other health care facilities acknowledge wide price differences, but say there are too many variables —from market forces to ever-changing insurance contracts — to make apples-to-apples comparisons of medical charges. “You can’t have a discussion in binary terms,” said Lance Lunsford, the chief marketing/business development officer for the Texas Hospital Association.”