Riddle me this…

You go to the grocery store to purchase a food item and the price is clearly marked.

You go to a car dealership and purchase a vehicle and the price is marked, and you agree ahead of time to what you will pay.

You buy a house and again your agree upfront how much it will cost.

You have a contractor build you a house and they provide an estimate of how much it will cost, and get your approval ahead of time for any changes to the cost.

So why when you go to the doctor, clinic, or hospital are you given absolutely no idea what it will cost?

And to make it worse, have you ever called your insurance company and ask them to tell you how much they will pay for any given procedure or test?  They will refuse, and tell you that you have to have your doctor file for a pre-authorization.

I can certainly tell you why health care in this country is such a mess — the whole system is designed to prevent a patient from having any control over his health care and specifically his health care costs.

For me I’ve decided that anything a doctor orders will need to get a pre-authorization or will need to have a (signed) statement by the attending physician that a delay in treatment would likely negatively impact my health (or be life threatening)… If my insurance won’t pay for the procedure, then either the medical provider is trying to charge too much, or there’s not a compelling reason to do it.

While insurance companies and doctors have setup nice legal barriers to litigation, I think it’s time “we the people” force the issue that medical providers and insurance companies make us part of the system, and respect our choices by providing us enough information up front to make care decisions…

Originally posted 2011-08-04 02:00:01.