"As out-of-pocket costs for health care increase, some of the most significant changes in decades are coming to hospitals to meet the demand for price information. Three Michigan hospital systems -- Ford, Dearborn's Oakwood Healthcare and Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids -- post average prices for common tests and procedures, from X-rays to back surgery. Ford and Oakwood have expanded financial counseling programs and give their best discounts to uninsured customers, as do a growing number of other hospitals.
In some of the most significant changes in decades, hospital systems are beginning to post their prices publicly and offer a range of help, including big discounts to uninsured and underinsured people with limited household incomes.
"It's a fundamental shift" in how health care prices are set and publicized, said Stephen Hathaway, chief revenue officer for the Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System.
The changes come as Michigan's uninsured population has grown to 1.35 million, an increase of 200,000 between 2007 and 2009, the latest year of information available from the state health department.
Interest in health care prices also comes from a growing number of people with high-deductible health insurance plans -- including 23,000 salaried General Motors workers who, starting in January 2010, were transferred into a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plan with a $3,000 annual deductible that families have to pay first before their insurance covers most costs. GM also gave employees $1,000 to create a health savings account, plus an additional $500 credit for those who quit smoking or make other lifestyle changes -- money that workers can put towards their deductible or use for another health purchase. The number of Michigan employers offering such high-deductible plans or health savings accounts rose from 16% to 23% from 2008 to 2010."
HTs: Steve Bartin and Ben Cunningham
The chart above is from the Henry Ford Hospital website for its "Pricing Information
," showing a 40% discount for being uninsured, and I assume paying in cash. The Ford hospital website also has a section for "Canadian Patient Information