Transparency is lacking, and asking questions is the key to taking charge.
SAN ANTONIO — Medical bills across the U.S. and here in south Texas are extremely high, and thanks to the pandemic the acceleration upwards of those bills is even faster.
A big part of it is a lack of a universal health care system driving costs up. Experts say the lack of transparency of costs is a big problem.
“In terms of hospitals in particular, they don’t show us their prices,” said David Silverstein, the CEO of Amaze Health. “And because of that, we can’t make informed decisions as the patient or the ultimate decision maker deciding which hospital we go to.”
According to Reader’s Digest in an average patient stay a patient belonging bag, which is not much different from a disposable grocery bag costs $8. A box of tissues, also $8. That cup to administer medication costs $10. One pill of Tylenol, $15! Those sterile gloves in that box on the wall, $53 a pair! And the costs vary greatly from hospital to hospital.
“That’s one of the one of the signs that the economics of healthcare doesn’t work is that we see this incredible variation that can’t be explained by differences in quality, service availability, the actual cost itself like the cost of the pill,” Silverstein added.
Lack of knowledge about health insurance plans is another issues. A study of almost 24,000 employees at a major Fortune 100 company found that six out of ten chose the wrong insurance plan for their needs and estimated that the average employee could have saved $372 per year by choosing a different plan. Silverstein says knowledge is power.
“You have to really educate yourself on what it is that you’re purchasing so that you can ask the right questions,” Silverstein told us.
Silverstein also says have a plan now so when you have a medical emergency you know who to call and where to go, that has the best rates for the service they provide.