Healthcare price transparency across the US: How did hospitals in 6 cities fare?

Healthcare is an essential service, but it remains largely difficult for consumers to navigate. The Pioneer Institute released a study of price transparency at 54 hospitals in six different U.S. metropolitan areas. Of the hospitals included, only nine had systems in place to provide price information in a consumer-friendly way.

The study covered the Dallas-Fort Worth area; Des Moines, Iowa; Los Angeles; New York City; Orlando, Fla.; and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. In more than 61 percent of the hospitals included in the study, it took three to 11 separate phone calls to get price information or the search was abandoned entirely.

In addition to analyzing the time necessary to discover pricing, the study also found wide variation in the cost of services. New York had a 1,000 percent difference between its lowest-priced hospital and highest-priced hospital for a MRI. The lowest price for an MRI was $400 at a Los Angeles hospital. The highest price for an MRI was $4,544 at a New York hospital.

The study found the following hospitals provided price information in a relatively consumer-friendly way:

•    Cedars Sinai (Los Angeles)
•    Dallas Regional Medical Center
•    Dr. P. Phillips Hospital (Orlando)
•    Duke University Hospital (Raleigh/Durham)
•    The Iowa Clinic (Des Moines)
•    Mount Sinai (New York)
•    NYU Langone (New York)
•    Wake Med Cary Hospital (Raleigh/Durham)

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