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Heath Care Pricing Transparency and Consumer Rights: Shoppable services

"Shoppable services" at hospital-branded providers

"Shoppable services" at hospital-branded providers

Covers inpatient and outpatient services such as imaging and laboratory services, medical and surgical procedures, outpatient doctor visits, etc. These self-service, web-based tools allow customers to select from among at least 300 health care services at facilities owned by hospital systems. See examples of "Shoppable service" websites at MU Hospital & Clinics, BooneHealth, CoxHealth, North Kansas City Hospital, Mercy Hospital, etc. To find self-service price estimator tools for additional hospital-based providers, Google the name of the hospital along with "price transparency."

  • PROs:
    • Easy, fast answers
  • CONs:
    • Limited number of services
    • There may be multiple charges involved in a health care visit.  A prospective patient might not be able to anticipate all the lab work, diagnostic tests, imaging and procedures.  However, by requesting a "Good Faith Estimate" first, one would have a list of codes that could then be entered at other providers' shoppable service websites.
    • The self-service tools may not accurately reflect a patient's actual out-of-pocket responsibility because it may change after being run through insurance.   Or, a patient might qualify for charity care.  Further detail may be obtained by contacting the provider's billing office in advance of scheduling the procedure.