70% percent of consumers in a Pioneer Institute survey said they would like to know information on provider pricing, yet half of them said they were not aware of seeking the information despite healthcare price transparency laws.
Many consumers living in a state with some of the most comprehensive healthcare price transparency laws have never thought to get the information about provider services pricing.
Why consumers never tried to find the price of healthcare services?
Almost 17 percent of the 500 adults in Massachusetts surveyed for the Pioneer Institute said they thought prices would be the same regardless, and 54 percent said they never thought of trying to obtain price information about healthcare services. 12 percent were thought that pricing information would be too complicated to obtain. 10 percent of consumers didn’t know how to obtain pricing information. 2 percent were embarrassed to ask for pricing information to the provider. 12 percent consumers were not aware that they could get this pricing information.
Finding healthcare prices
The survey found that ‘only one in five Massachusetts consumers had ever tried to find pricing information before date of service. It’s not like that they are not interested to know this information, rather, it looks like consumers do not know they have a right to get pricing information under the state law and they do not know how to access it.
About 7 in 10 consumers do not know insurance carriers have price estimator tools that they can use to get the pricing information. The majority of consumers said that they never thought of trying to get the healthcare pricing information from the insurance company.
Moreover, the state-required insurance carriers to offer consumers with out-of-pocket cost details in real-time through online cost estimator tools and via a toll-free number.
If you opt for our outsourced medical billing services, then you and your patients will not have any pricing information issues as we do eligibility verification prior to patient visits to the provider office. This way providers can inform patients in advance about their out-of-pocket information.
However, a gap remains between the goals of healthcare price transparency laws, which include strengthening patients to shop for the best quality, low-cost healthcare services, and real consumer behavior, the Boston-based think tank found.
According to Barbara Anthony, the report’s lead author and senior fellow in healthcare policy at the Pioneer Institute, “Consumers say they want price information, but only a small portion of people know they have access to it. The gap between aspirations and the ability to actually obtain price information must be filled.”
Consumer Price Information Awareness
Providers and healthcare organization administrators should be trained to provide consumers about pricing information and guide them navigate insurer cost estimator tools, the policy experts suggested. Provider admin staff also need to be ready to give patients referrals to specialists or tests based on the prices of the services, they added.
Price Transparency Pain Point
Many healthcare providers think that healthcare price transparency has been a pain point, many of them believe health insurers should be more accountable for delivering transparency since consumers require out-of-pocket cost estimates and not actual price information.
Provide pricing information can be easy if providers and payers collaborate in order to deliver out-of-pocket cost estimates in addition to the fees provider charge uninsured patients and payers for the services.