Physician launches medical cost comparison site

Cost transparency is a major issue for patients.

This blog has previously explored how the unpredictable and varied costs of medical treatment between care facilities can result in patients being unprepared for their medical bills. Sticker shock can cause more than frustrations, it can also cause care facilities to be ladened with bad debt, which affects their ability to provide quality care.

This issue has grown in severity with the rise in high-deductible insurance plans. According to America's Health Insurance Plans, one million Americans were subscribed to high-deductible plans in 2005. Today, there are over 15 million Americans in these plans. 

In response, Dr. Bill Hennessey, a practicing physiatrist in Greensburg, Pennsylvania launched Pratter.us. The site is designed to increase transparency in the cost of care, and inform patients of options they may have otherwise been ignorant of, such as ambulatory surgery centers and independent imaging centers.

"Would you go to the car dealership and sign that you bought a car without knowing what you'll pay for it? Would you go to a restaurant and eat a meal and sign to pay an unknown amount at a later date? So why do we do that with health care?" Hennessey asked The Charleston Gazette. "We are now health-care consumers, not just patients. And as health-care consumers, we have rights, including the right to know the cost of our medical care before we buy it."

Currently, Dr. Hennessy's site includes pricing information for facilities in six states, but he is hopeful that it will soon expand. 

Improving the transparency of the costs of care is a critical step in improving care center financial efficiency. If your facility is currently experiencing issues with health insurance claims follow-up as a result of patients being unprepared for the cost of care, it could be time to outsource receivables management. This decision can lead to a sharp decrease in the dollars written off to bad debt and improve cash flow.