When his wife was told by her physician to get a routine medical diagnostic test, employee benefits consultant Carl Schuessler went to work comparing prices at medical facilities near his Atlanta, Georgia home. What he learned about medical pricing totally blew him away.
Prices ranged from $450 to over $3,000 for the identical procedure. Some facilities were unable to quote a price at all, and much of the comparison shopping he did manage was thanks to special databases available to him as a consultant, but not accessible to the average consumer (using a massive Medicare pricing database crashed his computer three times!).
The system is totally insane, he concluded, wasting time, money and totally ignoring the quality of care.
“What if we set prices this way in a supermarket?” he asked:
“Imagine a banana in a supermarket. It costs $1 for those paying with Visa, $3 for those paying with MasterCard, and $32 for those paying with cash. You can’t sign up for Visa until you’re 65, and you can only get a MasterCard if you have a nice employer or a decent income. Worse, customers have no idea that such price discrepancy exists. They don’t even know how much they’ll pay for the banana until long after they’ve eaten it.”
Carl C. Schuessler, “Anatomy of an insane health care billing system,” BenefitsPro Magazine
The Takeaway: We all have different opinions about health care, but we can probably all agree that the current system is crazy. For an inside look at how even medical pros think the system is broken, take a look at Carl’s article via the link above.