December 9, 2005, Newsletter Issue #10: Get Prices Before The Care

Tip of the Week

You wouldnít purchase a new car without looking at the price tag, would you? The same can go for your medical care as well. Until recently the health care industry carefully guarded their prices, but thatís changing with the growing popularity of consumer-driven health care.

More Americans are adopting Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), a program that encourages consumers to take charge of how their health care dollars are spent. Many are watching their wallets, so theyíre asking their doctors ahead of time how much their medical procedures will cost.

Not all care costs the same: you wonít get the exact same price on a given procedure from every doctor and hospital. And sometimes there are cheaper alternatives to the procedure your doctor happens to recommend.

Donít be afraid to ask: Knowing how much your medical procedures cost helps you weigh whether or not you really want the services. And if something is too expensive, you have the chance to explore cheaper options with your physician before itís time for the procedure. Tell your doctor youíre concerned about price during your visit, and engage him or her in a conversation about your alternatives.

Whether participating in an HSA or not, remember your medical care is essentially a product with a price, just like a new car, and you should know what it is before you buy.

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