A new federal rule makes hospital prices more transparent

Bills spread-out on a table. Photo via WINK News.
Bills spread-out on a table. Photo via WINK News.

It happens far too often. Hospital patients have a minor procedure, only to find out that they were left with an exorbitant bill.

“I’m a senior citizen, so I’m shocked by the bills I get,” Gail Howard said, a visitor.

“Actually, I went in there for a back pain and I have a bill for $800 because they gave me an MRI,” Patrice Moore said, a Fort Myers resident. “Of course, I didn’t ask for that but of course they wanna see where it stems from. But also, a big business to try to put you on every machine that they have.”

On Jan. 1, a new federal rule goes into effect to make health care more transparent. It requires all U.S. hospitals to post an online list of the cost of their standard services.

With this requirement, you can comparison shop before heading to the hospital. But you have to be careful. Prices are not personalized, so what you see on a hospital website may not match what is paid by your insurance provider.

“Whether it’s the hospital or you go to get a burger, you wanna know what you’re getting or what you’re paying for,” Moore said.

Now, many are hoping patients at least become more educated and hospital pricing becomes more competitive.

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