Guess Where Fair and Transparent Hospital Prices Exist?

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by Linda Gorman,

from NCPA,

Britain has long had an active cash market for medical care provided by private hospitals, which helps people get around the long waits in the National Health Service, and also serve people from abroad.

Nuffield Hospitals advertises firm, fixed, all-inclusive prices good for 60 days after an initial consultation. For more complex procedures, one pays for the initial consultation and the hospital develops the price from that. The Nuffield price generally includes post-operative care, rehab, and required readmissions.

Like Walmart, Nuffield will match competitor prices under reasonable conditions — “If you find an alternative private hospital in your local area offering a better price for the same surgical intervention, sold with the same service conditions, we’ll lower our price to equal it.” The conditions require the other private hospital be within 15 miles of the Nuffield hospital, exclude NHS private patient prices and require a written quote.

Bupa offers private insurance, elder care, and private hospitalization. Beneficiaries of its Health Cash Plan pay providers, send Bupa the bill and receive the Bupa contract amount in cash. Bupa advertises no pre-authorizations to see specialists and 24/7 phone consultation with nurses and GPs.

The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) operates hospitals in both the US and UK. It offers a price list for self-pay UK residents. The table below compares the cash prices for three procedures from HCA in Britain with cash prices posted for the same procedures by the Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

The stunning similarity between the cash prices suggest markets for common surgeries are generally efficient, transparent and less complex when patients and providers are free to negotiate mutually agreeable prices for care.

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