The cost of medical care has to be one of the most complex topics known. One need only look at an EOB (explanation of benefits) received after a visit to your physician to find evidence of this. I can’t understand the EOBs resulting from the care I personally provide. It is popular for politicians and policymakers to talk about “price transparency” and their plans to make us all better consumers of healthcare services through access to better cost information. However, the implementation of this strategy has left us with nothing resembling a better understanding and it’s made us only more confused consumers.
Try calling a hospital and asking them how much the charge will be for simple, routine vaginal birth. As evidenced by this recent article in the Journal Gazette, despite the new law requiring hospitals to publish standard prices online, information is no easier to obtain and what is available is often incomprehensible.