Reduce your hospital “sticker shock”

Sometimes you can’t avoid going to the hospital, but you can try to be prepared before you go. Understand which hospitals are in your insurance plan’s network, know the details of your plan’s cost-sharing arrangement and if uninsured, begin to investigate the financial aid options at your local hospital.

Why is it important, before going to the hospital, to know the ins and outs of your health coverage? Because there is huge variation between what different hospitals charge for similar procedures in our state.

In October, we issued a report shining a light on hospital “sticker price” variation. Our hope is that consumers and employers will read the report and see that it’s important to understand the financial risk they might face when entering the health care system.

But this report is only the first step toward true price transparency. A recent editorial in The Seattle Times asserted, “consumers are paying more out-of-pocket for medical costs, with no guarantee of better outcomes. They have a right to know the cost of services before they seek care.” Our state needs cost and quality health information presented publicly, so we can all be better stewards of our own health care.

Learn more

Download the infographic.

Reducing sticker shock infographic.

Published: November 5, 2014

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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