Let’s say you’re having trouble reading this. The words are a little fuzzy. You might need glasses or a new prescription. So you call to make an appointment for an eye exam and ask how much the visit will cost. You’re going to pay for the appointment because your insurance plan has a deductible that you haven’t met.
Seems like a simple question, but be prepared: There’s a good chance you won’t get a simple answer.
“Sometimes people were downright rude,” says Barbara Anthony, senior fellow in health care at the Pioneer Institute. “Other times, staff said they weren’t allowed to give price information over the phone.” (Click the audio player above for Anthony’s interview with WBUR’s Bob Oakes.)
The Pioneer Institute called the offices of 96 dentists, ophthamologists, dermatologists and gastroenterologists (the doctors who perform colonoscopies) last month, asking for the price of five basic services.