[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Imagine going to the grocery store, picking up the items you need for the week, but not knowing how much anything costs until the store sends you a bill two weeks later.

Sadly, that’s how our healthcare system works every day.

Healthcare costs now represent one in every five dollars spent in our country. Patients’ deductibles and copays are rising. Prescription drugs are often unaffordable for many Americans.

We must do something about rising costs, and one key is to empower patients with the information they need to drive costs down and quality up by making the healthcare system compete for their business.

That’s why Medicare recently launched a new online tool that allows consumers to compare Medicare payments and patient copayments for certain surgical procedures that are performed in both hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers.

The Procedure Price Lookup tool displays national averages for the amount Medicare pays the hospital or ambulatory surgical center. It also shows the national average copayment amount a beneficiary with no Medicare supplemental insurance would pay the provider.

Working with their doctors, people with Medicare can use the Procedure Price Lookup to consider potential cost differences when choosing among safe and clinically appropriate settings to get the care that best meets their needs. And cost differences can be substantial.

The lookup tool is needed because the law requires Medicare to maintain separate payment systems for different types of healthcare providers. That means Medicare pays sharply different amounts for the same service, depending on the locale of the care. It also means that people with Medicare pay different co-pays for the same service, depending on where it’s delivered.

Unfortunately, this is a prime example of Medicare’s misaligned financial incentives, under which providers can make more money if they treat patients at one location as opposed to another. Here’s an example: a Medicare beneficiary needs knee surgery, and her surgeon offers her the choice to have the surgery in the local hospital’s outpatient department or at an independent surgery center.

With the Procedure Price Lookup tool, the beneficiary can type in the type of surgery and see an estimate of the difference in out-of-pocket costs between the two settings.

It would take an act of Congress to change Medicare’s payment systems. In the meantime, patients have the right to at least know what they will be charged. The Procedure Price Lookup makes that information easy to access.

Procedure Price Lookup is part of our eMedicare initiative and joins other patient-oriented transparency tools, including an overhauled version of our drug pricing and spending dashboards. These new tools provide patients with Medicare and Medicaid spending information for thousands more drugs than ever before and, for the first time, list the prescription drug manufacturers that were responsible for price increases.

We launched the eMedicare initiative to empower beneficiaries with cost and quality information. eMedicare also offers a mobile-optimized out-of-pocket cost calculator to provide beneficiaries with information on overall health plan costs and prescription drug costs.

The case for price transparency throughout the healthcare system is clear. The need for consumers to comparison-shop is growing as high-deductible plans become the norm. We also need to integrate quality information with price transparency, so consumers are empowered to seek out high-value care among providers competing on both cost and quality.

Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Dave Rickmers says:

    Sick people shouldn’t have to play games to get treatment. Fix it.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
Some people find the college financial aid process intimidating, if not overwhelming. But when it comes to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, the fear is misplaced.
Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
New Medicare Plan Finder tool helps you pick your Medicare plan online.
Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019
In his message for October, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin invites the community to join in celebrating the Santa Clarita Skatepark's 10th anniversary.
Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019
October is one of my favorite months of the year.
Saturday, Sep 28, 2019
Tenants must realize they are responsible for helping to pay for the maintenance, upkeep, repair and, in some instances, replacement of common areas.
Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019
Some things to consider before signing a lease.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Some people find the college financial aid process intimidating, if not overwhelming. But when it comes to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as the FAFSA, the fear is misplaced.
Don’t Let Student Aid Filing Scare You | Commentary by Dr. Dianne Van Hook
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The National Weather Service on Friday afternoon issued a high wind watch for the Santa Clarita Valley from Saturday evening through Sunday morning.
High Wind Watch Saturday Night to Sunday Morning
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has published the agenda for their Tuesday, Oct. 22 meeting starting at 1 p.m.
Oct. 22 Meeting Agenda – LA County Supervisors
The next regular meeting of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Board of Directors is set for Monday, October 21, at 1 p.m.
Oct. 21: North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition Regular Meeting
Tickets are now on sale for the Youth Project's 13th Annual Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em fundraising poker tournament, to be held at the Valencia Country Club on Saturday, November 2, starting at 5 p.m.
Nov. 2: Youth Project ‘Hold ‘Em Not Hassle ‘Em Poker Tourney
Author Michele Singer Evans will sign her new book "Island of Zarada: The Larimar Quest" at Barnes & Noble in Valencia on Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m., and the public is invited to join her.
Oct. 20: Michele Singer Evans Book Signing at Barnes & Noble
Construction has commenced at the new Orchard Medical Center on Orchard Village Road in Valencia, CBRE announced.
Walls Tilted Up for New Orchard Medical Center
Downed power lines in Newhall sparked a small fire and left more than 1,880 people without electricity, between Lyons Avenue and the southern edge of the Newhall Pass, Friday afternoon.
Downed Power Lines Spark Small Fire, Power Outage in Newhall
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored 16 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 46th Student Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills Thursday night.
AMPAS Honors Winners of 2019 Student Academy Awards
Local sheriff’s detectives, investigating the break-in last month of a home in Stevenson Ranch, tracked their suspect to Bakersfield where they arrested one man, seizing guns and drugs in the operation.
SCV Detectives Track Burglary Suspect to Bakersfield, Seize Guns, Drugs
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation’s William S. Hart Regional Park, in cooperation with the Friends of Hart Park, will present the Hart Bookstore & Collectors Flea Market at the Newhall park on Saturday, October 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 26: Collectors’ Flea Market at Hart Park
A Val Verde citizens’ group that sued the county over its decision to grant Chiquita Canyon Landfill an operating permit saw its case dismissed in court.
Court Tosses Val Verde Group’s Lawsuit Over Chiquita Canyon Landfill
Emergency road work to repair a water-damaged stretch of Newhall Ranch Road wrapped up Thursday evening about 7:45, city of Santa Clarita spokesperson Carrie Lujan said Friday morning.
Newhall Ranch Road Reopened After Water Main Break, Repairs
Saugus Union School District officials discussed how they once again increased scores on the statewide assessment testing over the previous year, and also how to close achievement gaps found in certain students.
Saugus School District Sees Improvement in State Test Scores
California is expected to experience a drier than average winter, according to an outlook published by federal climate experts Thursday.
Feds Predict Warmer, Drier Winter 2019-2020 for California
Amid a revived legal challenge over the storage of nuclear waste and public doubts over the safety of the decommissioning process of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved demolition Thursday of the iconic Southern California nuclear power plant.
San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant OK’d for Demolition
Marking the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake and its devastation to buildings, bridges, freeways and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California officials on Thursday launched a long-awaited statewide warning system that will send cellphone alerts before earthquakes.
California Gets Earthquake Warning System 30 Years After Loma Prieta
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
Campton store
New Medicare Plan Finder tool helps you pick your Medicare plan online.
Pick Your Medicare Plan Online | Commentary by Greg Dill
David Kuck, who was hired as head coach by the Canyons Aquatic Club two years ago, is now suing the swim club for wrongful termination, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle on crimes implicating the late child sex crimes suspect Jeremy Anderson.
Former Coach Sues Canyons Aquatic for Wrongful Termination
Preliminary, university-wide data shared by California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White indicated that four- and six-year graduation rates for first-time students and two- and four-year rates for community college transfer students continue to increase and have reached all-time highs.
Study Indicates Grad Rates for First-Time, Transfer Students at All-Time Highs
Lancaster Sheriff's Station detectives in collaboration with the Lancaster Appreciation Program (LANCAP) arrested 4 suspects for armed robbery.
Suspects in Alleged Robberies from Mojave to SCV Arrested
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who was serving as chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, died Thursday morning. He was 68.
Hill: Cummings ‘Friend, Adviser, Leader’
%d bloggers like this: