Price Transparency in Healthcare

Wesley Watkins
Wesley Watkins

I have written many articles on the cost of health care in the past. This topic is crucial to curbing the rising cost of health care. Price transparency means that all stakeholders are knowledgeable about the actual price of healthcare. The most important person that needs to know about the actual price is the patient, or end consumer. The problem that exists is that the real price of healthcare is often masked by health benefits and not shown to the patient.


For example, how many people know that the price of a family doctor visit is $100 to $200? After insurance discounts, the price is $65 to $90. If you don’t have any co-pays and have a deductible, you may be familiar with the discounted amount above; however, if you have a physician co-pay, you only pay $20 to $40 for that doctor’s visit. Obviously, we would all like to pay the lowest for a doctor’s visit, but we all need to know what the actual price is, and preferably before we receive the service. If you are the person who has a co-pay, then please understand that someone else pays the rest of the bill (the insurance company or your employer).


The main problem with price transparency is that patients don’t have easy access to the prices of health care. Sometimes it is almost impossible to find out the cost of your health care prior to your procedure or visit. A tool that is okay and you can use today is an app named “Health Cost Estimator”. This app gives an estimate and is somewhat accurate. Expect more price transparency tools to emerge in 2015 since it is an obvious flaw in our healthcare system that must be addressed.


Bottom line, we must be able to make informed decisions about health care. We must take the responsibility in finding great healthcare at the best price. If you have an elective procedure such as a shoulder surgery or hernia repair, or even a simple doctor’s visit, please find out the price prior to your visit or procedure. That way, no one will be surprised after the fact about the cost. The more research you do, the more informed and educated you will be regarding the cost of your care. Healthcare is not cheap, but you only have one body, so make the best decision.


To receive help in finding the cost of health care as well as finding the best health benefits, choose an insurance adviser who specializes in health insurance. If you need an insurance adviser who is an expert in health insurance, and ACA certified, please contact me at (318) 445-9359.