Shopping for Healthcare? 44 States Keep You in the Dark About Costs of Medical Procedures

According to a new report, only six states make information regarding the cost of medical procedures available to patients online and even that information is often "uneven, outdated, difficult to navigate or unavailable."

The report, which was put out by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, investigated state consumer website to determine which location provided data on the costs of medical procedures. Public Citizen found that all but six states keep consumers in the dark. The states that do provide such information are California, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia.

Public Citizen health care policy advocate Vijay Das carried out the inquiry. In the report he wrote that:

“Shopping for health care prices in the United States is like trying to find a light switch in the dark. If you know where you should be looking – and it’s actually there for you to find – you might have a chance, but otherwise you’ll blindly search in vain.”

The report found that, of the aforementioned six states, "few provide adequate cost information for the most common procedures." For instance, Virginia allows consumers to look at the costs of 31 medical procedures, but the website was last updated in 2013 and all the data is from 2012.

"Unfortunately, for the vast majority of patients living in states without health care databases, they are still fumbling in the dark without any cost information to guide their decision-making," writes Das.
You can read Public Citizen's report at their website.

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