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Heath Care Pricing Transparency and Consumer Rights: Asking about costs

Be proactive with conversations about costs.  Bring up the topic with your doctor and let them know if you prefer to research prices before scheduling services or filling prescriptions.

Discussing costs during a visit


  • The government has passed laws allowing some preventative care services at no charge.  Check your insurance policy coverage and additional details at  You can schedule a preventative care or "wellness" visit, but be sure to mention it to your doctor as well, because some types of conversations go outside the preventative care boundaries, and you could be charged for the visit.
  • If the doctor wants to schedule a test or procedure, ask for the billing codes.  Then, do any or all of the following:
  • Read this patient guide to surprise medical billing protections you can use now (source: PIRG)


  • If the doctor starts to write a prescription, use your phone to check the price for that drug on your pharmacy benefits website or app (for example, Express Scripts).  Also check GoodRX, Capital Rx or CostPlusDrugs for competing prices.  If the drug seems too expensive, you can ask the doctor if there are less costly alternatives that would work just as well for your condition.  GoodRX allows searching by health condition so that you can see more drug options that might be relevant.
  • Some doctor visits use time-based billing (priced by the number of minutes).  In other settings, charges are based on the complexity of medical decision making.  If possible, you could raise this topic while with your doctor so that when the bill comes, you'll know what level of medical decision making to expect on your bill.

Additional resources