Consumers not buying hospital listed prices

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CMS’ rule on price transparency took effect January 1, but so far, patients aren’t seeing positives from prices published by hospitals. News outlets around the country are reporting negative patient experiences from confusing price lists. It seems that regardless of where you live, figuring out how much your healthcare is actually going to cost hasn’t gotten any easier.

Savannah, GA:

“The prices on Memorial’s website will be the same price you see on St. Josephs Candler’s website but, that’s not the price you’ll pay.

If you have insurance you will most likely pay a lower price negotiated by your employer. That price depends on things like the procedure and specialty.

‘We need an understanding you know it’s vital to our health care services,’ said Gwendolyn Green, a registered nurse.

Green said even as a nurse healthcare pricing is confusing. ‘I mean we should not be left in the dark trying to figure out what’s what and going to Google and trying to Google and find out and you know what it is and what I should and shouldn’t do that’s not essential to our overall healthcare and I mean besides that adds more stress to whatever it is that we are already going through,’ said Green.”[1]

Louisville, KY:

“A federal mandate requiring hospitals in Kentucky and throughout the United States to reveal their once-secret master price lists still leaves patients in the dark.

The government required hospitals to make these lists available to the public with the Affordable Care Act in 2010, but until this week, hospitals were not required to publish them. The prices are now online, but figuring out how much that bag of saline or a medical sensor actually costs is a much different story. It’s buried in pages upon pages of prices, listed with names most don’t know and won’t understand.

‘We have our doubts as to what value it will actually bring to the consumer,’ said Carl Herde, vice president of finance for the Kentucky Hospital Association and the former CFO of Baptist Health. “We think there are better ways to help inform the consumer.’”[2]

Chicago, IL:

“As of Jan. 1, people can find a comprehensive list of medical procedures on all hospital websites, including DMH, HSHS St. Mary’s and Memorial Medical Center.

Area hospitals have almost 2,000 procedures listed on them, but they aren’t in any particular order. They aren’t alphabetized or put into a certain category – rather, they are organized by CPT codes.

‘The problem is, it’s hard to understand the different charges and procedures and how does that interplays with insurance,’ Roszehart said.

According to Roszehart, CPT codes are codes put out by the American Medical Association.

Even though the lists are aimed at being beneficial to patients, when insurance and other factors are accounted for, prices can change or even increase.

‘This was a good first step, but it’s only a first step and it’s not a particularly useful first step,’ Roszehart said. ‘The charges are exactly what an individual will see.’”[3]

Nashville, TN:

“The costs on Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s website is tricky to find.

First, on the main page, you go to patient and visitor info. Click on financial assistance. Then, you’ll see a tab on the left side of the screen that says “our charges.”  Click on another link that says “view list of charges.”  Then agree to terms and conditions, enter in a valid email address.

Once you’ve done all that, you’ll find a complete list of charges for drugs, supplies, and other standard charges for hospital procedures.”[4]

There’s a better way

There is a way to comply with the price transparency rule AND satisfy patients’ need to know their costs. Why not put a price list together that helps, rather than hurts you? Something the consumer can actually use, that won’t put them off, but will attract them to you.

People want to know what their costs are actually going to be. They want to know if there are discounts for pre-payment. Are there terms? Do they qualify for charity?

HealthQRS can help you provide actual pricing and all of the bells and whistles that consumers expect from any shopping experience.

HealthQRS’ price transparency tool allows you to publish price as well a downloadable readable file that shows realistic pricing, not the charge master.  In addition, we can provide out-of-pocket pricing. Our solution can also capture the user’s information, such as name, email address and phone number.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. HealthQRS can provide this to you for as low as $500 per month and we can have you price-transparency compliant, and not only that, your facilities will be much more attractive to consumers than your competition who is publishing charge master prices.

We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps. Our solution is simple to use. We invite you to see for yourself with this 2-minute video of the HealthQRS price transparency tool. Click on this link, then you’ll be instructed to download and watch: https://s3.amazonaws.com/hqrs.media/_misc/Screen+Recording+2018-11-29+at+17.30.45.mov

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We also invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers as well as our point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo and be compliant by January 1.

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[1] Alex Bozarjian, “Hospitals must post prices online starting Jan. 1,” WSAV, Jan 2, 2019, https://www.wsav.com/news/local-news/hospitals-must-post-prices-online-starting-jan-1/1684066834

[2] Gilbert Corsey, “Patients confused as Louisville-area hospitals post inflated prices online,” WDRB, Jan 4, 2019, https://www.wdrb.com/news/patients-confused-as-louisville-area-hospitals-post-inflated-prices-online/article_6097985a-0f98-11e9-b586-8bc972461ab8.html

[3] Madison O’Brien, “New price transparency in hospitals seems not so transparent with patients,” WANDTV, Jan. 2, 2019, https://www.wandtv.com/news/new-price-transparency-in-hospitals-seems-not-so-transparent-with/article_5dd6203a-0ee1-11e9-8e61-ef13930779f1.html

[4] Edward Burch, “New law requires hospitals to show procedure prices online” WSMV, Jan 2, 2019, https://www.wsmv.com/news/new-law-requires-hospitals-to-show-procedure-prices-online/article_2d8115c0-0ec8-11e9-9692-ebb468023b4a.html

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