KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On January 1, hospitals across the country complied with a new federal rule to post their prices online.
The goal of the new rule is to make it easier for consumers to compare hospital prices and make an informed choice about where to get their care. After looking at the some hospital price lists, posted on their individual websites, some Kansas City consumers had sticker shock.
41 Action News anchor caught up with brothers Elias and Everett Arruda at Pizza 51 at 51st and Oak in Kansas City, Missouri. She gave them the price lists for the University of Kansas Health System, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and the Truman Medical Center. At first glance, the brothers were both stunned by some of the prices.
"Kit responsive, neuro something, $127,000. What?" said Everett Arruda.
"It's crazy," said Elias Arruda. "I think it's just crazy numbers, like the fact that it's $1,000 for a tattoo removal," Elias added.
There are no guidelines for the format of the list, and some consumers struggled with understanding the medical terms.
Some hospitals, such as Truman Medical Center and the University of Kansas Health System, have long itemized lists of prices for everything from procedures to equipment to medicine. Overland Park Regional Medical Center offered a shorter price list of common procedures and services offering an estimated high and low price for those procedures.
All hospitals state on their websites that they have assistance for consumers who need help determining the cost for their care.
"It is very helpful, yeah, you can obviously then do your research and find out what you can afford and you can't afford," said Elias Arruda.
"If I were go to go the hospital and once I see my bill, I would definitely probably go back to it and say 'Hey, this is what you have here on your site, this is what's available to view. Why is my bill X-amount of dollars?'" said Everett Arruda.
Both brothers said, for them, insurance is the most important factor in choosing a hospital.