Procedure costs posted online

The not-for-profit Virginia Health Institute has published the average allowable costs of 31 medical procedures statewide, giving patients access to healthcare costs before they receive care.

Among the costs posted are those for procedures such as CTI and MRI scans, gall bladder surgery and hip replacements. Costs are posted for both commercial health plans and Medicare. They range from $43 for what Medicare will pay to remove a lesion in a doctor's office, to $29,197 for what commercial plans will pay on average for an angioplasty.

For one of the most common healthcare encounters, commercial insurers pay $171 for a minor emergency room visit, and $405 for a more extensive visit that may include discovering a condition that needs to be treated with drugs.

VHI officials say they designed the report for those lacking insurance or enrolled in high-deductible plans and want an idea of what their costs would be in case they have to undergo surgery or a major medical event.

"This is a great first step in empowering citizens to be educated consumers of healthcare," said Virginia lawmaker John O'Bannon, M.D. in a statement. He sponsored the 2008 legislation to gather and report the pricing data.

VHI contracts with the state's health commissioner to provide price transparency regarding hospitals and health plans.

For more:
- read the VHI price list
- read the VHI press release
- read the New Jersey Hospital Price Transparency Report