Before you ever receive a bill, before you have your next medical encounter, there is a lot you can do to make sure that you get the best healthcare possible at a fair price. At BrokenHealthcare.org we have been collecting and testing valuable advice from healthcare experts and the most useful resources to help you make decisions before you receive treatment.
Did you know…
- The most experienced surgeon may not be the best choice to perform your surgery?
- There are ways to make sure your risk of post-surgical complications is as small as possible?
- There is an easy way to determine which hospitals in your area routinely charge most and least for a given procedure?
You'll want to visit our resources below again and again. When we find new sources and resources, we review them on our blog, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed as well.
U.S. patients report skipping recommended procedures or follow-up medical visits because of cost
Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade
The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. This is an eye-opener and the ratings do not rely on participation in the voluntary Leapfrog Hospital Survey, so no hospital gets a free pass.
This relatively new website is run by Medicare and, therefore, utilizes a great deal of collected information. You can create side-by-side comparisons of up to three hospitals at a time on a variety of metrics, for a variety of conditions. You can also see how each hospital stacks up to the national average. One interesting feature of this site is the ability to compare hospitals’ use of imaging and other tests. The site will help you determine if your hospital orders too many or too few.
FAIR Health uses a huge database of billed medical and dental services to power a free website that offers some insight about medical and dental expenditures. The site provides an estimate, based on your zip code, of not only what the overall charges will be, but also what your out-of-pocket costs might be, if you are insured (not insurer-specific). FAIR Health allows you to adjust the percentage your insurer reimburses, which is a very helpful feature. The site also lets you specify what type of site would host your procedure so you can calculate the facility fee.
NYT Comparison Tool
This tool allows you to broadly vet prices at individual local hospitals. You can get a handle on a hospital’s overall pricing philosophy, as well as understand its pricing for individual procedures based on the amounts the hospital bills Medicare. Using the map, or searching by zip code, you can locate your hospital and determine how much above or below the national average the hospital bills Medicare for certain procedures. The site also provides information about how much more, or less, the hospital gets reimbursed by Medicare, relative to the national average. Combine this tool with the Leap Frog safety tools, and you’ll find that some of the least safe hospitals have the highest Medicare billing rates!
GoodRx gathers current prices and discounts to help you find the lowest cost pharmacy for your prescriptions. You can search by drug name and zip code to find the lowest prices. The sample search for the statin drug Crestor shows a price range from $14.45 for 30 pills at Safeway to $202.15 at Walmart. GoodRx also offers free coupons on some drugs and will show you where cash prices can be lower than your insurance co-pay.