Consumers Now Use Medical Cost Websites to Price Shop for Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests and Other Medical Procedures
Price transparency expected to encourage competition among healthcare providers, including medical laboratories
Before consumers visit a clinical laboratory, they can now check the “fair” price of medical laboratory tests. New websites have sprung up that make it easy for consumers to find what experts consider to be fair market prices for each type of lab test, as well as for other medical procedures and healthcare services.
Pathologists should think of the well-known “Kelly Blue Book” that has been the price authority for prices of new and used automobiles for decades. These new medical price websites are easy to use and make it quick for a consumer to find “fair” prices for common clinical laboratory test and medical procedure.
These new web-based companies are organized to serve the needs of consumers who are enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHP). For an individual, an annual deductible can be as high as $2,500—and as much as $5,000 for a family. Thus, clinical laboratory managers should not be surprised that consumers are actively price-shopping before they visit their laboratory to have a specimen collected.