« The Next Failure of Health Care Reform | Main | Report: Health insurance a matter of life or death »

March 18, 2008

Physicians put price tags on California health care

Then came Medicare and health insurance, and no one knew what doctors were charging, what insurers were paying and what patients were getting for their premiums.

Enough, decided Dr. H. Lee Adkins, a primary care physician who runs Ft. Myers Family Medicine in Florida.

Adkins recently changed his Web site, posting what he charges for everything from office visits to lab work. For example, an initial office visit can run from $75-$100 or $125, while lab work varies from $8 for a glucose blood test to $100 for the human papilloma virus.

His move is part of a national push toward greater transparency in health care, as more Americans go without health insurance and there's expected to be an increase in people moving to high-deductible health plans that force them to consider the cost of services.

Thirty-three states, including California, Florida, and Michigan, have laws that require price transparency, according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Some medical and policy experts believe greater transparency will lower care costs.

"What triggered it with me is when I started seeing everyone laid off," Adkins said.

Nationally, 47 million Americans are without insurance, according to industry reports. The figure is likely to grow as the economy slides. Fearing the cost of care, many who are uninsured won't seek help until their conditions land them in emergency rooms.

Adkins then started considering the number of Americans who are expected to move into consumer-driven health plans: high deductible, low-premium products that are generally linked to a medical savings account or reimbursement agreement. Twenty-four million Americans were enrolled in consumer-driven plans as of January 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office, the latest data available.

Click here for your free California health care quote today!

Posted by healthinsurance at March 18, 2008 10:46 AM