I’m talking about pricing. In this day and age of high deductible health plans, consumers are shouldering more of the cost of their healthcare. They now have a choice in caregivers and they want to know what they’re paying – ahead of time. Doctors are reluctant. But not because they like being opaque con men/women. They simply aren’t equipped to help the consumer.
Patients want it – give it to them
Between med school, residency and the first years of training, doctors are busy learning the what and how in treating disease. Nowhere in that path do they learn about cost.
Maybe future doctors will focus on cost but we’re at a watershed in generations. A gap between the cohort that didn’t have to worry about cost and the cohort that must. We need to be considerate and supportive of patients’ questions regarding healthcare pricing.
Again, it’s not that doctors are being passive aggressive and don’t want to help the patient determine cost. But just like the consumer has trouble determining cost of treatment, the doctor is in no better shape.
Even patients that have coverage by the same insurance company pay different out-of-pocket amounts with different policies. And the price transparency tools that try to help patients are often a reflection of “claims data” and averages. In other words, they may give you an idea of how much something will cost but not exactly what it will cost and where.
And “exactly what it will cost” is what we should expect and demand. That’s why we need online pricing tools that show you the cash pay price, which is often less than the rate the insurance company negotiates for the consumer. Whether you’re in network or not.
Maybe one day, consumers will have access to a tool like that. Oh, they do.