More Options Seen for Patients To Bargain Hunt For Health Care

CNN reports on the "growing number of hospitals, Web sites, even states, helping patients comparison shop on the Internet before undergoing a medical procedure or test. Hospitals say they're responding to a growing demand from patients who are paying for more of their health care out of pocket, thanks to rising deductibles and the advent of high deductible, consumer-driven plans."

Hospitals often have difficulty giving patients a clear price tag because "something like knee replacement isn't one expense but many. There are the surgeon's fee, the operating room charge, equipment and supplies, the hospital bed during recovery, and other costs. ... Sixteen state hospital associations operate Web sites that allow comparison shopping for such inpatient procedures as appendectomies, maternity stays and knee or hip replacements: Georgia, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin. Other states have their own systems" (Martin, 9/10).

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