When it comes to quoting accurate prices in advance to patients, hospitals are finding themselves caught in a double bind. On one hand, Medicare and some large insurers require hospitals to provide cost estimates for non-emergency procedures. That helps patients know in advance how much they will have to pay out-of-pocket. On the other hand, growing numbers of consumers want precise estimates of their care-in advance of their hospitalization.
Medicare and private payer requirements for accurate price estimates are the primary reason hospitals began boosting their capabilities in this area, But it’s today’s dismal economy, in tandem with the growth in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), that are causing more people to request estimates from one or more hospitals before they decide which provider they will use for their healthcare needs.