I truly applaud all of our healthcare workers. They save lives, put themselves at risk, and are there when needed most. Aside from that, this next discussion is focusing on huge health system giants in which administrative leaders have made this a business. Let's call it what is really is.
Many of these health systems are responsible for lack of price transparency. No other business I can think of is able to not provide customers with their pricing. I do not think most consumers would accept that from any other business. So why do we not act in the same way as customers when it comes to our own healthcare services?
As a healthcare customer/consumer, individuals need to be empowered by inquiring in advance what the healthcare services will cost. Aside from being proactive in planning for services, it is crucial as a customer to understand the details of how hospitals work with insurance companies.
American health insurance plans mostly come with a high-deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum, which was proposed by health insurance companies to put consumers in charge of their own healthcare. Hospitals contract with provider networks, which are sold to health insurance companies. Hospitals agree to take the network discount in return for a high volume of customers. Hospitals want to have a "mixed basket" of different insurance companies to contract with, because not all insurance companies pay the hospital the same amount. There are many reasons for inflated prices. However, this has greatly contributed to inflated prices.
All customers have a choice. I encourage all customers to shop around for the best price with the best quality before seeking services from a healthcare provider. Too many times consumers associate high prices with the best quality of care, when in fact as consumers, we know that sometimes this is not true.
As consumers we spend more time shopping for a home and car and want the best price. We should think of our medical services in the same way. After all, if we begin to empower ourselves the health systems will have to change their inflated prices to attract customers. It really is all of our responsibility to improve the cost of care.
Be empowered and plan ahead by researching and shopping for the best price with the best quality of care when you have a pre-planned service. The time is well spent to protect consumers from medical debt, medical bill issues and surprise medical bills.