mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Hospitals Ask Patients for a Blank Check


Miami’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center has just promised to publicly release the rates at which insurance companies reimburse the hospital for treatments. In any other industry, it would be routine for a vendor to disclose prices to customers. But the regular rules don’t apply in health care, where hospitals typically keep the prices they charge for their services hidden from the general public. Wonkblog explains:

This is a pretty big step for a hospital to take. Typically, hospitals and health plans closely guard their negotiated rates as a competitive advantage. A hospital doesn’t want its competitor down the street to know it’s getting paid a lot more by an insurance company for the exact same procedure. Likewise, health plans don’t want their competition to know when they’ve gotten a low rate with a provider.

We hope many more follow in Mt. Sinai’s footsteps. The fact that a hospital can make national headlines simply by letting people know how much they’re actually charging them is a sign of deep dysfunction. It’s amazing that there are more consumer protections for buying a used car than there are for getting health care. Despite years of health care reforms, Washington seems content to keep consumers in the dark.

[Bills image courtesy of Shutterstock]

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service