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Commercial insurance companies and the State of Virginia have joined forces to produce one of the most useful results of the health care reform movement to date. The 2012 Health Care Prices report allows consumers to look up and compare prices of various types of common medical services. The state encourages consumers to discuss pricing and payment terms with a medical provider prior to agreeing to a plan of treatment. Since the implementation of health reform inevitably means that consumers will be responsible for a larger portion of their medical bills, this data is more important than ever before.
For example, the report shows the average total cost of maternity and baby delivery care for a regular hospital delivery at $9,710. The report breaks down the charges into categories: Facility, Surgeon, Radiologist, Anesthesiologist, Physician, and Other Charges. Since a growing number of individuals find that paying for normal maternity expenses outside of a health insurance plan makes economic sense, this information on pricing allows individuals to make payment arrangements according to their resources. Knowing that the largest portion of charges - more than half of the total amount - are paid to the hospital facility for delivery ($4,682) may cause individuals to more carefully consider their delivery options and the cost associated with each of their options. Consumers may be more likely to seek out more cost-effective facilities in advance of the delivery.
The same logic can be applied to other services. Consumers who are more aware and involved in medical service pricing and payment process are more likely to make cost-effective choices.
While the report is based on medical pricing data collected in Virginia only, we believe that the report is equally useful in other states. It may be helpful to be aware of the relative level of medical service pricing in the area where you live. In general urban areas tend to have higher than average medical pricing, rural areas tend to have lower than average medical service pricing. Northern states tend to have higher pricing than southern states. By simply incorporating an area pricing adjustment factor, the Virginia report may provide equally valuable data for other parts of the U.S.
This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.