If you live near Pasadena, CA…

April 21, 2012 in health care costs, Hospital Bills

check out Huntington Hospital’s procedure pricing tool.  This is an astonishing display of price information. It’s astonishing because posting prices for anything is almost unheard of at hospitals in the US.

If you’re uninsured and you need bariatric surgery, the price is clear and fixed: “$12,000 flat fee $14,075 includes pulmonary and endoscopic workups.”  The hospital is also upfront about the cost of an inpatient psych visit: “Daily per diem rate of $960.00 covers admission to any of the three inpatient psychiatric units (Adult Voluntary, Geriatric, ICU). Daily per diem rate for a private room is $1,260.00.  Professional fees not included. All other hospital services included. This does not include inpatient admission for ECT.”

In another break with tradition, Huntington offers an uninsured “discount.”  Most hospitals charge the uninsured more than the rate paid by insured patients.

I read about Huntington Hospital in the LA Times earlier this week.

On its website, Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena allows people to select several common procedures and get an instant price quote, including an estimate of the patient’s share after plugging in their deductible and coinsurance. But even those numbers exclude the thousands of dollars that physicians, anesthesiologists and other specialists would tack on for most surgeries.

“We are working diligently to make publicly available both cost and quality information,” said Stephen A. Ralph, Huntington Memorial’s chief executive. “The need for pricing transparency in healthcare services has taken on increasing importance for citizens.”

Sure, Huntington talks about many reasons why the prices you see online may not be the end price – but this is a first step many hospitals are not yet willing to take.


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