How Much Will That Heart Test Cost? Many Hospitals Won't Tell You

Rachael Rettner | Huffington Post | December 2, 2013

Patients often have a hard time finding out exactly what their medical care will cost them, and a new study finds that hospitals often are not able to provide price information for even simple procedures.

In the study, the researchers called 20 hospitals in the Philadelphia area, and asked how much it would cost to get an electrocardiogram (EKG) -- a simple test of the heart's electrical activity that's carried out the same way on all patients. The researchers later called up the same hospitals and asked how much it would cost to park at the hospital, as a test of whether hospitals could provide price information about anything over the phone.

Just three of the 20 hospitals gave a price for an EKG. And of the few that provided prices, the cost varied from $137 to $1,200. [10 Medical Myths That Just Won't Go Away]

Open Health News' Take: 

Americans can comparison shop online for almost anything today. This ought to apply to the healthcare industry as well. How much are hospitals or clinics charging for medical procedures and other healthcare services? Where is the online Amazon, Best Buy, or Wal-Mart site that you can go to and check the prices before heading off to see your doctor. Read more about consumer cost comparison shopping and medical procedures on Open Health News (OHNews). -  Peter Groen, Senior Editor, OHNews