Years ago, people usually went to the hospital that was located geographically closest to where they lived or opted to use the healthcare providers that were recommended by their physician. Times are changing and many would-be patients want to know the upfront costs and out-of-pocket expenses before making a decision to have treatment provided at a specific hospital. Such requests are becoming even more common as people face rising deductibles and co-pays. One of the things that weighs heaviest on a would-be patient’s mind is if they can or cannot afford the needed treatment.
Financial Wisdom and Healthcare Costs
Not knowing the price of a service before you undertake it is financially unwise. There is no way for the would-be patient to even begin to determine if he can afford the services or even give any deep consideration to his various payment options if an upfront price is not provided. This causes many patients to face stress and shock when the faced with their first hospital bill.
Health Insurance Price Estimator Tools
Many insurance providers offer price estimator tools. Unfortunately, few members take advantage of such tools. It is believed that many people simply don’t realize that such price transparency tools are available and offered by their insurance providers.
Savings Gained From Healthcare Cost-Estimator Tools
People who are turning to the insurance provider’s cost-estimator tools appear to benefit from savings when it comes to imaging services but often lack any benefits from determining the pre-cost clinician office visits or lab results. This may be because most people do not doctor shop but continue to see the same physician or a specific specialist recommended by their physician. Also, many physician offices have on-site labs or certain labs that they send their patients too.
Does High-Cost Healthcare Equate to High-Quality Care?
Many people become confused with cost-estimators and start to equate the higher cost with a higher level of care. Unfortunately, this often ends up costing the patient more because they erroneously seek out hospitals with higher costs in an attempt to get premium care. Rarely is the inflated cost of healthcare expenses directly related to subpar, better, or excellent care. This misconception often ends up costing the patient excessive amounts of money.
Ultimate Cost of Lack of Medical Billing Transparency
Ultimately, the lack of medical billing transparency is costing hospitals. Hospitals who have not laid-out expenses beforehand to a patient face a scramble to collect or set up payment options with the patient after the services have been rendered. This can escalate billing and staffing issues that may have been unnecessary if all expenses had been discussed with the patient, and payment resolution had been reached prior to any healthcare services being rendered.
Benefits of Upfront Knowledge of Healthcare Expenses
Patients are better equipped to pay their hospital bills if they know the cost beforehand. Sadly, many front-line hospital employees lack the knowledge or ability to deal with a patient’s request to provide upfront costs. Many staff employees are simply unfamiliar with the price of provided medical services and they do not have a way to quickly determine how the charges will ultimately end up.
The Future of Medical Billing Transparency
With the future of the health insurance industry remaining in a state of uncertainty and patients facing rising out-of-pocket costs, the need for medical billing transparency is becoming almost a necessity in the evolving and changing healthcare industry.