A transparent list of actual cash prices instead of theoretical rack rate (chargemaster?) prices for cash payers would be nice.
That would great if you could whip out your phone and try and price match, but who would actually do that? especially during an emergency
This is a strawman. I have never needed emergency medical services. Have you? But I would have saved a lot of money if I could have price shopped for the colonoscopies, CT scan, lab tests and most other services I have paid through the nose for since I was self-employed and had a high deductible HSA policy.
Agreed. the vast majority of medical costs are non emergency, and even so, if you see one hospital has crazy ER rates, you can pick a health plan that covers a different one or tell your family so they know that one is your preferred hospital, etc.
More disclosure is a good thing for the customer, pretty much always.
You’re right that overall most expenses aren’t emergencies and we’d all potentially save a lot if we could easily price shop.
I don’t know if its necessarily / technically a strawman. Emergency medical needs happen daily. Yes I’ve paid them. Good for you if you haven’t. Some people might perceive that emergency spending is higher than it really is vs the non emergency costs. I bet 90% of my dads lifetime healthcare is for emergency spending. But he’s not the norm.
(edit : and then I read the whole thread and see xerty already made the next point…)
Also, we could potentially save money even for emergencies. If theres any choice in emergency room then you could find out which is cheaper in advance and ask to only go to that emergency room. A lot of emergencies don’t mean you’re unconscious and unable to pick Hospital A vs Hospital B.
Do you have a choice if you’re picked up by an ambulance? I thought dispatch tells them where to go. That said, many “emergencies” don’t require an ambulance, so your comment still holds.
I assume the specific rules depends on where you live. I’d also assume they take you to the nearest hospital or the designated hospital in a zone or city limits.
yeah I don’t think I’d take one unless I had no choice. I mean as long as were talking about saving money those glorified taxi rides cost $500-2000
You lead an unexciting life
Yes, in my experience. The ambulance charges by the mile.
Ref to abulance rides. Last i knew 10 years ago. Florida was required to take you to the hosoital of choice. I did an ems shift. In 12 hours i visted 4 different hospials. So if you are a bit south of orlando u do have choices.
And you could see mobile apps like GoodRx but for typical procedure costs at various hospitals around you. In most cases, you could look that up quickly or even find out in advance which ER you’d want to go to if you have the choice and time.
Bottom line, it’s hard to know the practical impact but having cash prices upfront could not possibly be a bad thing. Maybe it would also get rid of the inflated charges you see on your bills. It’s typical to see something billed $300-400, and then see the network discount for 75% of that. Such BS.
Whether more transparency would solve all issues, that’s very hard to say. I doubt it personally but it’d be a much needed move in the right direction IMO.
But how much does adding X extra minutes to the trip in cases where an ambulance is necessary reduce survivability?
It would obviously depend. But a lot of situations, even where an ambulance is necessary, still allow them to drive with traffic. Even if the ambulance arrives with lights and sirens, it’s not uncommon to leave with traffic. The purpose of the ambulance in many situations is really just to serve as a vehicle for EMS and/or the apparatus to reach the scene, not necessarily with urgency.
Depending on the area, lights and sirens may not actually save that much time. Of course, 30 seconds could matter a lot for some things, but it won’t always matter.
I was referring more to “choosing” hospitals further away than ambulance vs no ambulance.
Yeah, I’m just saying that in a lot of cases, adding minutes doesn’t increase risks.
But this is not my area at all. I wasn’t aware you could choose, but I only know about a couple cities’ rules, and mostly only have heard about rules in passing. The emergency services for the cities I’m aware of don’t let you choose (due to traffic, requirements to get the responders to other locations, ER conditions, and some teams wanting to give business to certain ERs so they personally get benefits there).
Oh, you were serious. I’d think if the patient makes the choice, then it’s probably not a life-or-death situation. I would also guess the ambulance crew has some discretion, and saving the patient’s life would have priority over their choice of hospital.
So back to the OP…
Is this change actually happening or are they still just ‘considering’ it?
Appears to be implemented now. I’m not going to watch any TV ads to find out, but if you do, let us know.
Edit: this is more drug transparency, but not yet medical cost transparency.
That rule requiring pricing on drug ads is a good step. Doesn’t seem the same thing as the OP though.
Looks like the effort is still active in general…
This is huge. It’s really sort of shocking that this hasn’t been done until now. Imagine being able to shop around for where you’d like to have a procedure done and actually know upfront how much it will cost you. Amazing!