Crowdsourcing consumer information is a fact of everyday life now, but not everyone is aware that these resources exist for health care costs and experiences.
The website CostHelper.com has a section devoted to health care costs, and its articles include estimates for many potential costs, from hospital billing to medical supplies. You’ll also see comments from the CostHelper user community reporting on their own individual expenses, which can help offer a more detailed picture of how costs vary from area to area.
FairHealthConsumer.org has a different approach to gathering information on medical costs. They collect data on health care claims from insurers, estimating the number of claims received to date at over 28 billion. Searches for specific costs include geographical location and other details, so the potential accuracy of the results is high.
Consumer Reports doesn’t offer cost information on specific procedures, but they do have a helpful guide to health insurance that can be a starting place for decision-making. As always, their information comes from a combination of research and input from readers.
Vox’s project collecting data on emergency room bills is a sometimes terrifying read, but the facts shared by over a thousand people provide some benchmarks for comparison.
The bottom line is that the more facts we have, the more informed our decisions can be. Increased transparency in health care pricing is going to benefit all patients.