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Maryland Web site makes it easier to compare prices of procedures

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The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the Maryland Health Care Commission is launching a statewide campaign called “Wear the Cost,” which lets consumers access a state Web site to find price differences on four common procedures: hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy and vaginal delivery.

The site let’s consumers calculate such typical and expected costs as office visits or surgery as well as costs associated with potentially avoidable complications. The commission advises consumers to look for hospitals with low total costs and low rates of avoidable complications to get the best deal.

“The U.S. has the highest health care costs in the world — and costs are rising faster than in other rich countries,” Robert E. Moffit, M.D., commission chairman, noted. “In Maryland, you might pay $37,225 for a knee replacement at one hospital, and $22,687 for a knee replacement at another — this difference can translate to hundreds, even thousands, of dollars more out of the pockets of Maryland residents.”

Healthcare Dive reports that national poll by the Bucknell {University} Institute for Public Policy found a majority of Americans don’t get price information about medical procedures or healthcare in general before being treated.

A bit over a quarter of respondents said they seek cost information from providers. Those with insurance and higher income and education were more likely to ask about price than uninsured, lower-income individuals or those with a high school degree or lower education level.

But a 2016 PNC Healthcare survey found that younger patients may be more saavy. We at CMG would guess that’s because they have not had the generous insurance coverage that most Boomers have had and have to pay much more out of pocket. Thus, the pollsters found, 41 percent of Millennials were likely to request cost estimates before undergoing treatment, compared with just 21 percent of Boomers.

Still, the poll found that about 25 percent of respondents in the Bucknell poll who said that they went price shopping for healthcare said providers weren’t forthcoming in providing information.

Healthcare Dive noted that “Maryland is not alone in trying to increase visibility and transparency around healthcare pricing. Three years ago, Massachusetts began requiring insurers to post healthcare price information online. And Arizona requires large medical facilities to post patient costs for the 50 top medical procedures. Smaller hospitals must provide price information on the top 35 most common procedures.’’

To read the Baltimore Business Journal report, please hit this link:

To see the commission’s Web site, please hit this link:

To read Healthcare Dive’s comment on this (which includes other links), please hit this link:




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