While posting prices online is fine, it may not necessarily help patients choose the best value for their dollar, critics say. While lower prices may suggest a hospital is more efficient--and getting patients well faster--that's not necessarily the case, advocates note. In addition, the rash of hospital prices being posted vary widely; for example, some hospitals quote their median fee paid to contracted health plans, while others quote "sticker prices" that don't really give a sense of a patient's true out-of-pocket cost.
Not only that, such prices usually don't include quotes for both a procedure and the bundle of additional services that are delivered as part of the process. Ultimately, even experts have a heard time blending pricing information with quality data in a meaningful way, critics note.
To learn more about this trend:
- read this Associated Press article
Tennessee hospitals put prices online. Report
HCA posts hospital prices online. Report
MN group posts hospital prices to Web. Report
Maryland adds pricing to hospital guide. Report