By Martha Bebinger
Next time you visit a doctor, hospital or lab, try asking, “How much does this MRI, blood work or cast on my daughter’s arm cost?” Health care may be the only service we spend money on without having any idea how much the test or procedure or medicine costs. That’s a problem. If we don’t know how much we spend, or if we’re getting good results for the money, it’s going to be hard to tackle rising health care costs.
Asking “how much does it cost” is a new conversation for most of us whether we are patients, nurses, doctors, lab techs or pharmacists. We want to hear what happens. So we’re starting a social network, sort of like a Facebook group, for patients who shop for health care. We’d love to hear from you at HealthcareSavvy.wbur.org. Tell us your story, read about other patients’ experiences, browse our list of sites that might help you make smart choices or get tips on asking about the price of your care.
(The point here is not to be confrontational. Some doctors would prefer not to consider costs in deciding what’s best for a patient, others think about what’s a cost-effective approach. Many, like us, just don’t know how much anything costs. So we have tips on how to ask about costs while getting the best care as well. And we have a resource page with suggestions about where to find cost and quality information.)
We’ll share some of your stories on the air. All of them will help us understand your voice in this ongoing debate about how to make health care better and more affordable.