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Health Care: If you don’t know what it costs, it’s probably more than you think

This post from the NCPA web site show why we need more price transparency in health care.

An Oklahoma City surgery center is offering a new kind of price transparency, posting guaranteed all-inclusive surgery prices online. The move is revolutionizing medical billing in Oklahoma and around the world, says News Channel 4 Oklahoma City.

  • Dr. Keith Smith and Dr. Steven Lantierlaunched Surgery Center of Oklahoma 15 years ago, founded on the simple principle of price honesty.
  • Surgery Center of Oklahoma started posting their prices online about four years ago.
  • The prices are all-inclusive quotes and they are guaranteed.
  • Surgery Center of Oklahoma does accept private insurance, but thecenter does not accept Medicaid or Medicare, thus avoiding government regulation and control.

Their goal was to start a price war and they did. The difference in price is staggering.

News Channel 4 obtained bills from the metro’s three largest medical centers: Mercy Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center and OU Medical Center.

  • Mercy Hospital charged $16,244 for a breast biopsy; the procedure costs $3,500 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
  • OU Medical Center billed $20,456 for the open repair of a fracture; the procedure costs $4,855 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
  • OU Medical Center billed $21,556 for a gall bladder removal surgery; the procedure costs $5,865 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
  • OU Medical Center billed $23,934 for an ankle arthroscopy; the procedure costs $3,740 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
  • Integris Baptist billed $37,174 for a hysterectomy; the surgery costs $8,000 at Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

Source: “Oklahoma City Hospital Posts Surgery Prices Online; Creates Bidding War,” New Channel 4 Oklahoma City, July 8, 2013.