Consumers need better transparency with health costs

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 - 8:11 am

Re "Sutter settles billing lawsuit" (Page A1, Nov. 5): Great to hear that Sutter Health will be halting this type of "creative" double-billing.

However, we have a long way to go for consumers to feel secure in price-shopping and comparing health care costs.

As an example, Anthem Blue Cross cites estimated costs for various procedures at various facilities in a "Cost Compare" section of its website, touted as a useful consumer tool. A recent PET scan was quoted at a specific facility as having an estimated cost of $1,655; the actual bill was $4,098 -- of which I pay 10 percent. A year ago I used the same "tool" to compare the cost of routine knee surgery; the "Cost Compare" tool quoted $10,000 -- $11,000 at a specific facility; the bill came in at $32,000.

Creative or purposely misleading? Tell me where the transparency is for consumers?

-- Pamela M. Durocher, Orangevale

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