PriceCheck

Health care costs  are at the heart of a Health News Florida reporting project called PriceCheck. It lets you search and contribute to a database of common medical procedures. 

We want to hear from you, but submitting information on our database. You also can email our reporters at pricecheck@wusf.org (Tampa Bay) or pricecheck@wlrnnews.org (South Florida).

You can also call 877-496-6999 if you wish to provide information or share comments that you do not want made public on this forum.

Sometime before the end of this year, the state of Florida will have a new website with health care prices for patients. It's the result of a 2016 law and a five-year, $6.1 million  state contract that was finalized earlier this month.

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Health News Florida's database of costs for common health care procedures is growing. PriceCheck now contains thousands of entries for health care providers. We're also getting a lot of feedback from listeners who have stories of their own about navigating the billing process.

House Seeks ‘Shared Savings’ in Health Care

Mar 22, 2017

House members continued moving forward Tuesday with a plan that would give patients a cut of the savings if they can find health-care services at a lower cost than what insurers would ordinarily pay.

Health care costs are a pain. That's why Health News Florida has PriceCheck, an online tool to help you compare costs of common health procedures. This week on Florida Matters we're featuring people who shared their own frustrations and sticker shock!

After battling for years over how to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Florida lawmakers landed on a compromise. Instead of expanding Medicaid to cover more people, they decided during last year’s session to attack the cost of care directly, creating a database to make procedure pricing transparent.

Florida patients could soon have access to more information about the average costs of their prescription drugs.


Florida is making a database of medical procedures and the average price patients should expect to pay for them.

Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee got a preview of what it may look like Tuesday.


Image courtesy of Everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Look closely at a bill from your health care provider, and there's likely a sigh of relief your insurance company negotiated a better rate than the initial charge.

But those negotiations are often secret, and it's hard to compare one insurance company to another.

So how do you know whether they are negotiating the best price?

Accident victims with private insurance are getting surprised by sky-high ambulance bills and Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha 'Ron James wants to do something about it.

It has been four months since WLRN launched Pricecheckan online guide to bring clarity to health care costs in Florida.

California Aims To Limit Surprise Medical Bills

Sep 11, 2016

When it comes to navigating the intricacies of health insurance, Cassie Ray considers herself a pro. She actually reads her policy, including the fine print.

So when the 57-year-old from Fairfield, Calif., needed routine follow-up surgery after a mastectomy, she did her homework. "I looked up on my insurer's network and made sure the outpatient facility that I was being referred to was in my network," Ray says.

A month later, she received an unwelcome surprise: a $580 bill for an out-of-network anesthesiologist.

When Brenda Sokolowski turned 50, she followed national recommendations and made an appointment for her first screening colonoscopy.

Health News Florida, WLRN and WUSF have launched PriceCheck, a reporting project aimed at bringing clarity to the cost of health care in Florida. On today's Florida Matters, we'll get an update on what the PriceCheck team has learned since its launch, with Health News Florida editor Julio Ochoa, PriceCheck founder Jeanne Pinder, and WLRN reporter Sammy Mack.

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Hospitals keep a list of what they charge for health care. But if you have insurance, that charge may have nothing to do with what your insurance company has negotiated and what your out-of-pocket expenses would be.

WLRN

  Transparency is the new buzzword in health care with consumer demand fueling changes to state laws and giving birth to websites that publish prices for medical procedures.

WUSF partnered with WLRN in Miami to launch their own database called PriceCheck. But we're not the only game in town.

Catalyst For Payment Reform

Florida and 42 other states fail to give the public easy access to health care pricing, according to a new report.

Florida is the ninth worst state in the U.S. for having a baby.

Here's a typical scenario when you have a medical problem. You go to your doctor's office, then have to run across town to a lab for a blood test and then you also have to get an appointment for an X-ray or MRI. There's a good chance this will all require a phone call — or a lot of phones calls — with your insurance company.

It's a hassle and it's time-consuming.

But for many people it's even worse than that.

  Medical debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States. Having health insurance is no guarantee against being swamped by bills after an emergency or a big procedure.

But one Palm Beach County man has found there’s room to negotiate.

Lisa Rosario/Albuminarium

Having a baby is expensive, even with insurance. A new report says the average cost varies greatly across Florida and nationally.

The report by Castlight, a company that looks at millions of patient claims a year, ranked by price the 30 most populated U.S. cities, including Tampa, Orlando and Miami.

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When it comes to health care in Florida, it pays to shop around.

The cost of a common MRI can vary by thousands of dollars depending on where you go to get it.

People who die in the hospital undergo more intense tests and procedures than those who die anywhere else.

An analysis by Arcadia Healthcare Solutions also shows that spending on people who die in a hospital is about seven times that on people who die at home.

As Hospital Chains Grow, So Do Their Prices For Care

Jun 13, 2016
USC researchers; Blue Shield of California claims data

As health care consolidation accelerates nationwide, a new study shows that hospital prices in two of California’s largest health systems were 25 percent higher than at other hospitals around the state.

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