Need medical care? Make sure to shop around first

Need medical care?  Make sure to shop around first

A new website in California lets consumers price compare their medical procedures.

Looking to not go broke through getting your health problems fixed?  California is here to help.

As the OC Register reported, the state launched a new website on Monday to help potential patients estimate how much money their medical care may cost.  California Healthcare Compare is a collaboration between Consumer Reports and the University of California San Francisco, funded by a $3.9 million grant from the Affordable Care Act.

The site breaks down the total cost of common procedures such as hip replacements, C-sections, and colonoscopies by hospital or medical system, analyzing how much it will charge both to insurance companies and out of pocket.  The price ranges are paired with quality ratings to help patients even more as they decide where to seek their treatment.

One search found that in Orange County, patients could pay from $833 to $3,251 out of pocket for knee surgery depending on the location and its corresponding charges such as co-pays and deductibles.

Insurance Commissioner Doug Jones is excited to empower users to be financially prepared for medical care.  “Consumers have been in the dark for a long time,” he said, likening the monetary experience of surgery to shopping with a bag over your head and not discovering the price until after you’ve paid.  Jones expressed wishes to refine the website even further but acknowledges that California is one of the few states with enough information to even start such a comparison.

Get ready for Price Wars, hospital edition.



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