Medical bill transparency will be driven by consumers, expert says

Medical bill transparency will be driven by consumers, expert says
June 24 01:00 2014

Medical bill transparency will be driven by consumers, expert says

A recent study showed that over half of Houstonians are confused with their medical bills, but that could be changing.

Dave Wojczynski, senior vice president of Chicago-based TransUnion Healthcare, said the lack of transparency in medical billing is causing frustration from consumers, as well as a growing demand to fix the problem.

“We are seeing a consumer demand to (fix the problem) and I think we’re on the beginning stages of the providers dealing with that issue more acutely,” Wojczynski told the Houston Business Journal.

Wojczynski said that in the past, consumer choice has really never been as apparent as it has been in other industries, where shopping for the best price on a car or meal is much easier to do than a medical procedure. This is because of pre-existing contracts between providers and insurance companies, as well as insurance policies between employers and their employees. Wojczynski said these arrangements are full of “nuances and complications,” making it difficult to make sense of the whole process.

Wojczynski said in his opinion, the changes are going to come from the consumer demanding a change in the way the business is operated, rather than the federal or state legislature making sweeping mandates. And as the Affordable Care Act looks more toward quality of care for patients in health care systems, providers are going to be paying attention.

“We definitely have a correlation between the billing experience to the patient, and how it affects their overall experience in terms of customer satisfaction,” Wojczynski told the HBJ.

He said the big thing to take away from the study, which surveyed 7,500 people, was in the numbers. Two-thirds of respondents were surprised at the medical costs, and half of them were confused by their medical bills.

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