Consumers skeptical about the real cost of healthcare will soon have a resource where they can ask and share with their neighbors the price of common medical procedures.
Starting Thursday, WLRN, WUSF and Health News Florida are teaming up with ClearHealthCosts.com, a health cost transparency company, to launch PriceCheck, a database that blends together prices of common healthcare procedures collected with information from consumers living in South Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
The media companies are building a searchable online database to make it easier to share prices and find prices for common procedures. The goal is to allow consumers to pull back the curtain on healthcare costs. While lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., are talking about policies to make healthcare companies report prices, this is the first project that puts the consumers in charge.
“People should know what things cost in healthcare,” said Jeanne Pinder, a veteran healthcare journalist and founder of ClearHealthCosts.com. “We’ll use the power of our communities to reveal the secrets of the marketplace, and join hands to make this opaque system more transparent.”
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Reporters at WLRN in Miami and WUSF in Tampa will break down the complicated nuances of insurance paperwork, produce stories of consumers navigating these bills and demonstrate how consumers can use the PriceCheck database to see prices on procedures from MRIs to chest X-rays to sleep studies, and how to safely share the costs of your healthcare.
Healthcare consumers also are concerned about quality — not just price. Most people don’t want the cheapest appendectomy or the cheapest MRI. Patients want high quality healthcare at a fair price. But just as there is little transparency in health costs, there are also few good measures in quality.
PriceCheck is taking this step toward price transparency in the belief that price transparency will lead to a good discussion about quality measurements.
Along with costs and quality, privacy is an issue whenever healthcare is the topic.
The healthcare information consumers provide to us will be used only anonymously, and will never be paired publicly with your email address. ClearHealthCosts.com and PriceCheck partners will preserve consumer privacy.
The pricing, procedure and location information you provide to us will be shared publicly in the “Find Prices” table on the WLRN website at wlrn.org/pricecheck to help consumers compare costs. Comments may also be posted.
Except for your email address, the information being collected, including comments, may also serve as the basis for articles and reports about health costs.
Email our reporters at email@example.com or call 877-496-6999 if you wish to provide information or share comments that you do not want made public on this forum.