The benefits of openness when it comes to the cost of various procedures in the healthcare marketplace are obvious for consumers. HealthCost organizes pricing information and other data from providers to ensure consumers can make smart decisions for themselves that balance health concerns with monetary.
But what’s in it for providers? Aren’t they naturally better served by the status quo, which allows for mystery and confusion around price and ultimately leads to consumers accepting what’s offered because it’s their health and they don’t want to ask too many questions?
Some of the nation’s biggest healthcare stakeholders don’t believe so. They believe in transparency, recognize that the current model is unsustainable, and know that smart consumers will ultimately choose providers that are open and honest about what healthcare costs.
Among these stakeholders is U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar II. During a speech in March to the Federation of American Hospitals, Azar outlined a multi-pronged strategy to shift the industry paradigm from one that pays for procedures to one that pays for value. Price transparency is one important piece of this shift.
In his remarks, Azar compared the experience of shopping for healthcare to eating at a restaurant. “Imagine if, after you’re seated, you have to order before knowing what anything costs—indeed, before ever seeing the menu. And once your bill finally does arrive, not only are you paying for your appetizer, entrée, and dessert—you get a surprise bill from the off-site pastry chef, too,” he says. “No one would ever put up with such a system.”
Several providers are already there. HealthCost recently partnered with Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick and Orthopedic Associates of Dutchess County—three highly respected, cutting-edge medical providers located in the greater New York City area that have chosen to embrace the future of the healthcare marketplace, one that will be defined by transparency and choice.
As these partnerships blossom and benefit all parties, HealthCost continues to develop and seek out new partnerships that will provide consumers with what Bill Moore, founding partner of HealthCost, calls a “uniquely active” form of price transparency in healthcare.
Other models and services provide the average cost of a procedure, instead of the exact cost of the same procedure across facilities and physicians in a particular geographic area. Moore uses a colonoscopy in New Jersey, as an example. “You have $2,300 on one end and $11,000 all the way out on the other end. That makes the mean cost around $6,600,” he says. “If we tell people they can have a colonoscopy in New Jersey for $6,600, and they have one for closer to $11,000, we’ve helped no one.”
That’s what makes HealthCost special, and it’s why the participating provider network is expanding. As technology continues to improve and develop, consumers become smarter. As Secretary Azar says, “There is no more powerful force than an informed consumer.” And as this always-expanding group of informed consumers drive the marketplace, they’ll choose providers that are open with them about price. They’ll choose HealthCost and its partners.