Only 16% of U.S. hospitals surveyed in a recent study gave a complete price quote for a common hip surgery, highlighting the obstacles many patients face in comparison shopping.
Pricing information remains difficult to obtain from medical providers and the figures that are quoted vary widely despite government efforts to make the process more consumer friendly, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. for Internal Medicine.
Jaime Rosenthal, a student at Washington University in St. Louis who led the research, called two hospitals in every state and Washington, D.C., as well as the top 20-ranked orthopedic hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report.
She asked for the lowest bundled price, hospital plus physician fees, on a total hip replacement for a 62-year-old grandmother. She said her relative was uninsured but had the means to pay out of pocket.