Have you ever received a doctor’s bill and experienced sticker shock? This is a common problem in the medical industry. Many doctors do not offer transparent pricing.
Transparent pricing means patients are aware of every treatment they will receive and how much it will cost, so they know what to expect. Unfortunately, doctors often tack on unnecessary expenses for more minor services. Or sometimes, patients are unclear about what they will be paying when seeing an out-of-network provider.
Many experts say the medical industry is ‘broken’ and transparent pricing is necessary to fix it. This article will review why transparent pricing is so important and what can be done to make it more of a standard in medical facilities.
What is the No Surprises Act?
The lack of transparent pricing caused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take action in the form of the 2020 No Surprises Act. It includes provisions such as:
- Making all emergency services considered in-network without the need for doctor approval
- Prohibiting out-of-network cost sharing for emergency and non-emergency services
- Banning out-of-network charges for ancillary care at in-network facilities
- Ensuring consumers receive clear and advance notice of out-of-network charges
- Requiring good faith estimates for uninsured individuals
- Providing a way to appeal certain health plan decisions
While the No Surprises Act is a good start, many patients aren’t aware of their rights. Doctors often prey on their lack of knowledge and continue with unfair practices.
Why is a Lack of Transparent Pricing Prevalent in Healthcare?
There are many reasons why a lack of transparent pricing is so prevalent in the healthcare industry. Here are some factors to consider.
- Lack of Standardized Pricing Models: Most doctors don’t have a standardized pricing model. This allows them to charge patients on a case-by-case basis.
- The Ambiguity of Prices: Negotiated prices between insurance companies and doctors are often kept confidential, making it difficult for patients to know the actual cost of their treatment.
- Lack of Reliable, Understandable Information: With many patients not understanding medical jargon, it can be difficult for doctors to provide resources to offer patients the pricing information they need in an understandable format.
- Multiple Billing Sources: Patients often receive multiple bills for treatments, including those from their doctors, insurance companies, and hospitals. This makes it even more confusing for them to understand the charges and how they were determined.
Why Transparent Pricing is So Important
There are many reasons why transparent pricing is essential. These include the following:
- Creates a Better Patient-Doctor Relationship: Patients need to trust their doctors. Pricing transparency increases trust making for better patient-doctor relationships. It boosts loyalty and makes patients more likely to refer friends and relatives to the doctor, helping them grow their businesses.
- It Makes for Better Health Outcomes: A lack of transparent pricing has reached epidemic levels making many people distrust doctors. As a result, they are less likely to get the care they need. This leads to reduced health outcomes overall.
- It Empowers Patients: Patients who receive good faith estimates are empowered to make more informed decisions. They can compare prices and consider costs to decide whether to move forward. A survey conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute showed 70% of patients want to know the cost of their medical procedure before undergoing treatment.
- It Prevents Potentially Devastating Financial Effects: Medical bills can be pretty expensive. If people are faced with unaffordable costs they were not expecting, it may put them heavily in debt. They may end up paying off bills for years, making for a financially devastating situation.
How People Can Overcome Price Transparency Issues
A lack of price transparency is a significant issue in the healthcare industry, but people can do their part to find solutions as follows:
- Ask for a Rundown of Costs: The simplest solution is to ask the doctor for a rundown of the treatments you will be getting and how much each will cost. You will have evidence of the quote if you get an estimate in writing. This will allow you to dispute a bill with surprise fees.
Use a Cost-Comparison Tool: Consumers can use several cost-comparison tools to compare prices across providers. This will give you a good idea of what to expect regarding treatment expenses.
Use UBERDOC: You can feel confident you are getting transparent pricing when using UBERDOC. UBERDOC connects people with reliable doctors at an affordable flat rate of $250 for most visits. We offer convenient services that allow you to eliminate lengthy hold times and see doctors right away.
Transparent pricing is essential in the medical industry. If your provider is not giving you straightforward pricing, contact UBERDOC today. Our convenient, affordable service will restore your faith in healthcare.