Hospital Prices Online Has Been More Confusing Than Helpful For Patients

Hospital Prices Online Has Been More Confusing Than Helpful For Patients

SARASOTA (WWSB) - As of January first of this year, hospitals across the country have been required to list all of their prices online. It’s supposed to make health care costs more transparent between medical centers and patients, but has this new tool been more helpful or confusing?

We took a look at three local hospitals: Manatee Memorial, Sarasota Memorial and Venice Regional. They all have their prices on their website which downloads as an excel sheet on your computer. However, when you look at these prices, they're a little difficult to even understand because they're listed in medical terms with medical codes on them.

"The good side is that people will be able to be aware upfront of what the prices are going to be, but the bad side of it is the way the information is disclosed,” Dr. John Moor explained.

These codes are split up between the medical numeric number for each procedure called CPD codes and the Latin or Greek description if it. This is something very confusing for anyone outside of the health care field. Especially when patients thought this would be a great way for them to know how much they'd be spending on their visit.

"It didn’t actually come to fruition. It was actually even more frustrating by the end of it because I got a big bill that I wasn’t expecting,” Jana Whitehead told us.

Dr. Moor suggest patients look up these codes on the internet to get a better understanding of what they mean, or to talk to your primary physician so that they can tell you which code to look for. Plus, to be aware that most of the time, it’s not just the specific procedure that you’re charged for, but also added fees depending on what medical care is needed, so be sure to verify that with the provider as well.

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