Starting January 1, 2019 hospitals have to list the prices of procedures online and also make them available to people on request. But not all health care advocates think that the transparency is entirely straightforward. The effort by the government to help common people make better decisions when it comes to health care is encouraging, even though some believe that there is more to be considered than just the prices listed on the internet.
Dr. Natalie Azar compared the listing of prices to retail prices suggested by manufacturers when buying a car. He added that listed and actual transaction prices may differ vastly. Dr. Ira Nash similarly said that real prices are not published and they depend on negotiations with insurance firms. Azar noted that even with online publication of prices of procedures, patients still have to go to their insurance companies to find out what their responsibilities will be, depending on co-pays of patients, deductibles and co-insurance. The CEO and founder of Clear Health Costs, Jeanne Pinder said that although the new measure tries to be effective to all, it ends up falling short of its main objective. Patients may start believing that the fanciful and inflated listed prices represent the actual costs.
Benendic Ippolito said that the new policy may end up confusing people instead of benefiting them. Azar further pointed out that the new step taken will not aid people stuck in a crisis who cannot exactly compares prices charged by hospitals in their locality as they are rushed to the emergency rooms. He concluded by saying that patients not facing emergencies or critical situations are recommended to make themselves aware of the prices. In addition to that, safety records of hospitals, the quality of care offered by those hospitals and other aspects like locations should also be considered.