Share Your Bill, Make Health Costs Transparent in California


Say you’re shopping for a new computer or a new car, and you want to get the best price. Within a matter of minutes on Google, you would have a pretty good idea of the price range for the product you want.

But in health care? Forget it.

That’s why KQED, KPCC in Los Angeles and ClearHealthCosts.com have teamed up — to shine light on health care costs. In June, we launched PriceCheck a community-created guide to health costs. Since no database yet exists where consumers can easily look up costs, we’re commencing the work of creating one.B ut we need your help. Check out the form below and share what you paid. If your insurer paid for some of all of the procedure, you’ll need their explanation of benefits. Right now we’re focused on IUDs, but our form can accept all shares. And check out all of our PriceCheck coverage.

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  • yolo

    Suggestion to create a easier (shorter) URL or redirect, such as kqed.org/pricecheck

    • http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth Lisa Aliferis, KQED

      Thank you! Actually, that is a redirect we already are using. So please feel free to share that URL if easier.

  • Cathy

    Cost on bill is only loosely to actual cost of item. Hospitals add to charges to make up for unreimbursed costs elsewhere. Decades ago I worked in university hospital billing department and $3 charge for aspirin tablet wasn’t for the aspirin – it was for pharmacist and pharmacy to stock the aspirin, custodian to clean pharmacy, nurse to dispense, unreimbursed charity care, etc. And anyway, while seeking “transparency” isn’t necessarily a bad idea, costs aren’t ever going to be contained as long as usual patient has no significant financial skin in the game. We are health care providers and were recently consulted by our son as to the wisdom of a raft of tests recommended by presumably well-trained internist in UCLA system. Some of the tests recommended simply weren’t necessary, but our son is a very unusual consumer of health care in that he wanted to save every possible deductible penny and he had someone knowledgeable to ask. Most patients would just go to the lab without asking questions after seeing the doctor. By making insurance more accessible without creating incentives for patients choose health care services wisely, ACA guarantees that everyone’s premiums (inside exchanges, outside exchanges, taxpayer-funded) will eventually skyrocket.

  • JuniorWoodpecker

    This site doesn’t even show prices for cataract removal which is once of the most common of all procedures. The site’s a worthless waste of time!

  • Susie Kalashain

    website needs help. I couldn’t scroll down past 96150 to even get to mammograms!

    • http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth Lisa Aliferis, KQED

      Hi There — trying to help: Did you try just typing in “mammogram” where there is a space for “procedure”? Or did you only look for procedure code?

  • http://alltop.com/ Will Mayall

    First, it is often tough to find the procedure codes even though that’s the only way to be sure you are entering the correct procedure. Then, your db does appear to have all the codes. The second procedure I entered has code 73030 and was not found. There must be a better way to do this…

  • Bobin MB

    From Rapid City South Dakota. I think your effort to
    establish a list of prices for various medical procedures is great. A family
    member of mine, uninsured, went to the hospital ER with a stomach problem
    causing her to vomit. Three hours, an abdominal ultrascan and some blood tests later
    she left with a bill of $2200. I asked for an itemized listing of all
    procedures/codes and compared them item by item to what Medicare would allow.
    It was $550. The hospital “chargemaster” billing was 400% over Medicare. This is
    criminal. The uninsured can be driven into bankruptcy by unreasonable hospital
    charges. I wish you could get South Dakota to establish an organization such as
    yours. Keep up the good work. Information can be power and used to fight overbilling.

  • John

    My friend is doing this same thing, check out his startup:
    http://comparedcare.com