PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When you go to a drive through for fast food, you know exactly what it will cost you at the next window.
But right now, if you’re in need of a hospital outpatient procedure, it’s like a fancy restaurant with no prices on the menu.
The Heritage Valley Health System plans to change that.
“Hospitals and health care have become more retail,” said Dan Murphy with Heritage Valley Health System.
With hospitals in Sewickley and Beaver, heritage valley will begin posting prices for 25 common outpatient procedures – doctors’ costs would be extra.
“So with the changes of the Affordable Care Act, with many uninsured patients in Pennsylvania, having a pricing transparency for the hospitals for the outpatient costs is going to be very important moving forward,” said Murphy.
As many as 400,000 people in the state can not get health insurance, since Gov. Tom Corbett decided not to expand Medicaid as suggested under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Posting outpatient prices is aimed at the underinsured, although those with health insurance may find it helpful as options in insurance are changing dramatically.
“So you might see higher co-pays through your insurance,” Murphy said. “So people might weigh that when they look for a service they might need.”
Since 2009, the Heritage Valley Health System has posted prices for services at it seven walk-in “convenient care centers.”
The area’s two giants – Allegheny Health Network and UPMC – do not post prices.
But Allegheny Health Network responds to the idea by stating:
“Greater transparency in healthcare pricing is clearly the future direction of our industry as it moves toward a value-based model…we are currently assessing we are currently assessing strategies for effective price transparency.”
UPMC did not return our calls.