My guess is your answer is no, but yet most consumers of health care don’t perform the most basic review. It’s my belief that this is in part to the widespread use of the HMO products and the reality that the information is not readily available at the time of service.
A couple of years ago, I asked a young professional what the cost of a doctor visit was and the response I received was “It costs $15.00.” The goal of the HMO product was to lower the costs but an unanticipated result was the creation of a group of blind consumers. The medical card was in effect a credit card without a monthly statement. Many people have never seen and Explanation of Benefits (EOB) and those that have are only starting to ask questions.
I’m a participant in a consumer driven health plan and knowing the cost of service has me thinking. I recently took my daughter to the doctor for a broken wrist. Between the doctor’s office and the hospital visit, eleven people provided care. The medical providers will be compensated for those eleven people and had care been delivered more efficiently, it’s my opinion that same result may have been reached with three touches.
The Obama Administration has provided the American Public a peek behind the curtain to see how our health care costs vary nationally. A recent article in the Boston Globe states that the average charges for joint replacement range from about $5,300 at a hospital in Oklahoma to $223,000 in Monterey Park, California, not including the doctor’s fees. I agree with Jonathan Blum, the Medicare deputy administrator who was recently quoted in the same article “It doesn’t make sense.” Blum said the Obama Administration hopes that releasing the information, at the website www.cms.gov, will help lead to answers and pressure some hospitals to lower their fees.
It makes you wonder doesn’t it?