Do You Discuss Cost of Care With Your Patients?

August 08, 2018

The mystery surrounding healthcare costs is just as frustrating for physicians as it is for their patients. Insurance status, type of insurance, negotiated rates, deductible status, and other factors all conspire to affect specific charges. At times, it seems no one is actually sure what the final bill for a patient's medical care will be, according experts at a session during the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting in April.

In a recent HealthFirst Financial Patient Survey, 77% of patients said it is important or very important that they know the cost before treatment. Yet only 18% of the 1011 people surveyed said that a healthcare provider spoke to them about financing their medical bills.

Despite increasing calls for greater price transparency, the situation seems to be getting worse. A recent JAMA Internal Medicine report found that 120 US hospitals were actually worse at providing price estimates for total hip arthroplasty in 2016 than they were in 2011-2012.

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