Would you purchase an automobile or a house without first knowing the price? Probably not. That’s not how most people shop for cars or homes — or for any other major purchase. In just about any retail environment in the U.S., people know how much they’ll pay for something before they buy it.
Except when it comes to their health. Patients in hospitals and health systems routinely receive services without expecting a pre-service cost estimate. This is often due to the complexity involved in estimating healthcare costs. Variable factors within the services delivered, patient accumulators (such as out-of-pocket costs and deductibles) and plan contracts all make it difficult to prepare these estimates ahead of time.