As health plans trend towards a deductible-type insurance, more patients will have to shoulder the cost. To that end, some health plans in Massachusetts are posting costs of various tests on the web.
Patients being more aware of the cost of care, and being able to talk about cost with doctors, is generally “a good thing and desirable,” said James F.X. Kenealy, MD, an otolaryngologist in Framingham, Mass.
“We tend to assume price is no object, and that really is unsustainable,” he said.
This is an idea long overdue. It’s about time that patients take more responsibility for health care costs. Educating the public by giving them the numbers is the first step. I think it will also cut down on patients who come in and demand tests.
Have a headache and want a non-contrast CT scan? $248-$482.
How about that patient who demanded the transvaginal ultrasound for ovarian cancer screening. It’s against every recommendation, but if you insist on one, it’s $101-$135.
And finally, how about the patient with back pain who insists on a stat MRI? Guidelines recommend anti-inflammatories and physical therapy, but if you demand the MRI, it’s $545-$678.
Health insurance will soon be like auto insurance. With costs spirling out of control, deductible plans will be increasing in popularity. That means patients having to know more about health care costs. Whether they want to or not.