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Cost estimates from California hospitals hard to get

San Francisco Chronicle, December 2, 2009
A California law which went into effect in 2006 requires hospitals to provide, upon request, a written estimate of charges that an uninsured patient would be billed based on the service and length of stay. But researchers from Rand Corp. found that only 28% of California's 353 acute-care hospitals responded to letters from a fictional uninsured patient seeking pricing information for a common elective procedure. California's law also requires hospitals also to give uninsured patients information about financial assistance and charity care policies.