Mergers = Might: Hospital Consolidation.
Avoiding hospitals altogether to get around high prices isn’t a realistic option. What’s more, we’re getting to the point where many people have no choice. Health care professionals who work outside of hospital systems are becoming few and far between as North Carolina hospitals rapidly merge and buy up doctors’ private practices. It’s a tactic that eliminates competition and gives hospitals even more power to set prices and drive up costs.8, 9
Another factor that drives up prices: billing errors. An estimated three out of every four medical bills are incorrect.10 In fact, a 2015 audit found that one North Carolina hospital received an estimated $2.4 million in Medicare overpayments over a 21-month period, all due to billing errors.11
Three Tips for Avoiding Sticker Shock
Expand your smart shopping skills. Compare the prices of more than 1,000 non-emergency procedures at hospitals across the state by using Blue Connect or the Blue Cross NC cost treatment estimator tool We’ve partnered with Prime Therapeutics to provide information about prescription drug costs and pharmacy services. Look up drug prices and pharmacies.
Contact Blue Cross NC before seeing your doctor. We can explain your benefits and give you an idea of the costs you can expect. We can also help you understand your bills.
After you receive care, ask your hospital for an itemized bill to help clearly identify any overcharges.