By Paul Kempen, MD, PhD
Price transparency is a fallacy regarding posting of lists of costs when insurance is involved. Perhaps transparency in BILLING is more reasonable to create individual outrage regarding outrageous bills. Please consider the following:
Cost transparency in BILLING!
I want to hear if anyone sees the following proposal as useful in separating physicians out from the “cost of care”. The issue of transparency is nebulous “going into” getting care for a number of reasons. Patients are often ill, in urgent need, in a “closed market” and poorly educated. Perhaps it would be useful to push for legislation creating transparency of ALL BILLS, especially those produced by insurance companies which serve to foster that impression that insurance somehow actually pays for care. Insurance controls payments through ”negotiated prices”, limitation of care delivery and other aspects. I question if it would it be useful to have laws which Demand EVERY “This is NOT a bill” produced by corporate entities include the following data:
HOSPITAL AND INSURANCE STATEMENTS
1) Itemized price charged (i.e. charge-master and/or “full billed price”)
2) Amount ACTUALLY PAID by insurance independent of patient portion separated from negotiated deductions
3) What Medicare would have paid for every BILLED service in A) HOSPITAL and B) regional Doctor’s office
4) All facility fees separated from total cost as a separate component
Imagine if everyone SEES the “facility fee” and recognizes that doctor offices are CHEAPER!!
If everyone sees the hyperinflated insurance/hospital costs over physician offices
If everyone sees that the PATIENT is paying for care via the deductible and sees just how LITTLE insurance companies are paying from the large premium and this is NOT hidden in the “negotiated deductions” which gives an appearance of “saving money” for patients.
Anyone producing a bill MUST have access to such data and making everyone aware of these realities would create pressure on OVERCHARGES