As Consumers Shoulder More Costs, Healthcare Prices Remain Hidden in Florida, Other States

Various prescription drugs on an automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions, in Willingboro, N.J, in 2011. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)
Various prescription drugs on an automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions, in Willingboro, N.J, in 2011. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)
Various prescription drugs on an automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions, in Willingboro, N.J, in 2011. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

(Miami Herald) – Consumers with health insurance shouldered more of the expense for their medical care in 2014, but Florida and nearly every other state did little to require that prices for hospitals and doctors be made public — hindering comparison shopping and allowing dominant hospital systems and insurers to drive up costs overall, according to a report released Wednesday.

Florida was among 45 states that received a failing grade for neglecting to adopt laws that give patients the data they need to plan for their healthcare expenses, according to the report produced by two nonprofit groups, Catalyst for Payment Reform in California and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute in Connecticut.

The report looked only at state actions regarding healthcare price transparency, and not at the increasing number of health insurance companies that offer their members online tools to estimate out-of-pocket costs for medical care, such as Cigna and UnitedHealthcare.

Free websites, such as Healthcare Bluebook and Fair Health, also offer some price information. But in many cases, data are limited or are restricted to members of specific health plans.

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