Can you imagine ever purchasing a car, home, or even a coffee maker without having a clue what it costs? Most consumers would never dream of making a major purchase without having some insight into price. Usually, the price is one of the first things a shopper sees and it wouldn’t occur to most people to commit to buying anything without having at least a ballpark idea of what they’re spending.
Once we are aware of the basics, we can make informed decisions, factoring in our personal priorities for luxury or economy and how much we are willing to spend on higher-end variables. There is one industry, however, that is one of the costliest for individuals and the United States economy and we not only have no choice on what we spend, the cost is deliberately kept from us. That industry is healthcare.
“There is zero price transparency in healthcare,” says Dr. Gail Tasch, co-founder of medifees.com (MediVerity Inc), a web site she created with healthcare tech innovator Hugo Gallegos for price and quality comparisons on medical procedures and treatments. “If you call a clinic or hospital and ask, ‘I want to have this procedure, can you tell me about how much it will cost?’ They won’t tell you. But you’ll get the bill. I’m a physician and cannot find out the room rate for a night in my own hospital and I work here.”