KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Calls For Transparency In Health Care Prices Are Only Getting Louder. But It’s Not That Simple.

Part of the problem is that it’s tough for a provider or an insurer to come up with an accurate cost estimate for a particular service.

Modern Healthcare: Achieving Transparency In Healthcare
Being transparent about price enhances the patient’s healthcare experience, said Sarah Knodel, vice president of revenue cycle at Baylor, but it isn’t just a nice thing to do. Patients are more likely to pay if they understand how much they will owe out of pocket upfront, reducing the amount of uncompensated care the system must swallow, she said. “Our goal is to start to inform the patient as soon as possible about how much they’re going to owe and to set the expectation that we are going to try to collect on that estimated amount due.” That way, patients can make an informed decision about whether they want to proceed with the healthcare service. (Castellucci and Livingston)

In other news —

The New York Times: Under ‘Observation,’ Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills
In April, Nancy Niemi entered Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C., with cardiac problems. She stayed four nights, at one point receiving a coronary stent. Then she went home, but felt faint and took several falls. Five days later, her primary care doctor sent her back to the hospital. This time, her stay lasted 39 days while physicians tried various medications to regulate her blood pressure. [Her son] soon learned one of the brutal truths of Medicare policy: Patients can be hospitalized for days, can undergo exams and tests, can receive drugs — without ever officially being admitted to the hospital.(Span, 9/1)

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