Indiana lawmakers look to create database that would disclose medical pricing online

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Large red EMERGENCY sign on hospital entrance. Raw original.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It’s the season for shopping, and this time next year you may be able to shop for your healthcare.

Right now, hospitals, doctors and labs aren’t very transparent about prices. However, lawmakers are looking to change that in 2020 by creating an all-payer claims database.

“Give me a ball park, let me know what I’m looking at,” said Abby Rugenstein.

Medical patients like Rugenstein don’t have any clue what their medical bill might look like.

“A shot, surely that can’t be that much money you would think, but no, I was very wrong,” said Rugenstein.

She was handed a $3,800 bill for a cortisone shot she never would have purchased had she known the price up front.

“I wouldn’t have done it, it’s outrageous,” said Rugenstein. “And I feel like it was in hiding.”

State lawmakers are looking to bring healthcare prices out in the open with an all-payer claims database.

“It’d be nice to know before you go into the hospital for a procedure exactly what that cost is going to be all in,” said State Sen. Rod Bray.

The Indiana Hospital Association agrees.

“About 20 states have one of these databases,” said IHA President Brian Tabor. “And from our research, a public-private partnership seems to be maybe the best option.”

The association wants the site to be transparent in all areas.

“Consumers want to know about price, but they also want to know about quality,” said Tabor. “Healthcare is very important, it’s very personal, so you may be shopping for yourself or a loved one.”

Rugenstein is completely on board with these efforts.

“I’m an avid online shopper, so I like to save money where I can,” said Rugenstein. “So, if there is a healthcare system where I can look and see different procedures and prices and surgeries at different hospitals and locations, I can find what’s in my network and works in my budget and be prepared.”

The state is also looking to fix surprise billing. Click here for more information on those efforts.

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