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Patients take frustrating journey to uncover hospital costs

Statesman, July 23, 2012

As state and federal leaders call for curbs on rising healthcare costs and as more consumers pay higher co-pays and deductibles, experts advise patients to find out their costs before seeking care. Though that is unlikely to occur in an emergency, even the savviest consumers with time to value-shop are easily stymied. Nationally, there is a move toward greater transparency in hospital costs, but hospitals are not leading it. Hospital officials say posting their prices, even an average cost for a particular procedure, would be more confusing than helpful to consumers because many factors determine cost.