Price Opacity

A Pre-R patient just sent me a e-rant about her ER bill that came to $6000 for her kid’s ear infection, which included $2300 for the Cipro drops that were dispensed.

Earlier this week a doc told me that she had a migraine while at work a few months ago. She popped by the ER for IV fluids, some Toradol and Zofran. She was instructed to check in officially, but was assured she wouldn’t get billed. A few weeks later she received a $3000 kick in the groin, which her hospital wouldn’t waive.

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash.

The internet is full of such stories. Here’s another great one: She didn’t get treated at the ER. But she got a $5,751 bill anyway.

Anthem is taking a lot of heat for declining to pay for non emergent ER visits in some states. But from my vantage point, they’re just another player in an absurd game. I believe price “opacity” is at the root.


I’ve been hunting around Facebook to see if there is a group focused on price transparency, but I’m coming up short. I want a group where irritated people happily post their bills, in which other irritated data dredgers happily turn the numbers into a searchable database… something like GoodRx but better.

Anyone know of such a thing?

If not, anyone want to start such a thing?


Where’s the Assange of hospital chargemasters?

When patients ask me what something will cost them, I want to be able to answer in real time.

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