In the Dallas area, new moms will find a nearly $5000 range in price range to deliver their baby. As healthcare costs continue to rise, price transparency has become a key strategy for those trying to bring high prices and the stress they put on the system under control. Hospitals are now asked to post their prices online, but most are difficult to interpret and somewhat meaningless unless one knows how their insurance deductible and coinsurance will impact the final cost.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the Healthy Marketplace Index, where they analyzed negotiated rates between providers and insurance companies across most of the major metropolitan areas in the country, and found wide variance. While there were significant price discrepancies for certain procedures in Dallas, the region was more or less average for most of the procedures measured.
For a C-section delivery, the report shows that Dallas-Arlington has a median price of $9,888, which was double the $4,556 it costs in Knoxville, Tennessee, but less than half of the $20,721 it will run a patient in the San Francisco area. Within Dallas, the price ranged from $6,985 for the 10th percentile to $10,051 for the 90th percentile. The overall price range in Dallas for a C-section delivery was $4,853.
Dallas’ area vaginal delivery price was $7,404, but the range between the highest and lowest cost births was $4,360, meaning some are paying more than double what others are paying in the area.
The study also measured the cost of a comprehensive metabolic panel, a bilateral mammography screening, established patients and new patients. The figure that stuck out the most was the range in Dallas for a comprehensive metabolic panel, where the 90th percentile was over $400 and the 10th percentile prices was just $65. The average price for the panel $288.
Price transparency in healthcare is a growing concept, but because healthcare is so indirectly paid for, patients and payers deal with incremental healthcare cost increases without shopping around for quality and price like they might for other products. UnitedHealthcare gathered data for the Dallas area, and found that MRIs can range from $240 to $3,290 and lumbar fusion back surgery can range from under $23,000 to over $129,000. As insurers and employers begin to encourage their members and employees to shop around for better value, price transparency has become a more important factor when patients are choosing where they want to be seen.
See the full report and data here.