Can I Get That Tonsillectomy Cheaper?

Want to know what a Heme-8 Lab costs? Or a Heme-8 with Automated Differentiated Lab?  They're each $9.37 at Johns Hopkins and it may not matter to you what they are (blood tests for diseases like lupus and others), or how much they cost.

But it's starting to, for doctors, and it's helping to bring down healthcare costs, according to Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post.  She reports that, "for six months, doctors ordering certain lab tests" were able to "call up both the type of the test," and what Medicare would pay for it.

It's actually caused doctors to order almost 10% fewer tests, Kliff notes.  Once the hospital started studying the costs, and relaying them to doctors, it saved $3.79 per test per day per patient.  That may not sound like much, but times thousands of patients, it's paying off.

Kliff writes that doctors were not penalized for writing orders for more expensive tests, the price just got billed to the insurance company (and we wonder why our premiums are so high?).

A person (presumably a doctor) commenting on the story said that this, however, is not new, adding that hospitals get paid more by insurers for more expensive tests. I can't verify the truth of this but the person said hospitals get "10 to 30 times" what the tests cost.

As someone with a high-deductible insurance policy, I get charged exponentially more on procedures, before I reach the deductible, than someone with insurance.  It's a crime, and some hospitals and insurers are doing something about it.


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