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TODAY'S QUESTION: How would insurance companies posting costs affect you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011 | 11:21 a.m. CDT

A bill requiring insurance companies to post costs of medical services from various online providers is currently sitting in the Missouri Senate.

Sponsored by Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, the bill aims to lower overall costs in the insurance industry by increasing competition. Right now, insurance companies develop private contracts at different hospitals and medical facilities, which causes variations in costs for the same services. 

Under the new law people could simply type what service they needed into a website and the prices at various medical facilities would appear, Schaaf said.

In aprevious Missourian article, he said “we have to get the health care providers at all levels to feel the pinch of competition.”

On the other hand, estimates for getting the program up and running would cost roughly $1 million, and the annual operating costs are estimated to be $500,000 each year.

The Department of Insurance provides regulation for more than 500,000 people and companies doing business in Missouri.

The bill has been "perfected" in the Senate but still has to meet the Missouri House of Representatives, Schaaf said.

How would a requirement for insurance companies to post costs for medical services benefit you?


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Comments

Gregg Bush April 14, 2011 | 1:54 p.m.

This is an absurd requirement. No reasonable person will "shop around" for discount medical care - bargain heart surgery? The real metrics that have any value to health care consumers is diagnostic successes (making sure tests are accurate) and intervention outcomes. Have providers publish those stats and you'll have some legitimate information to use.

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