In the U.S., it’s still nearly impossible to compare the price and quality of anything in healthcare. Recently, websites that mine data have been popping up all over the web to fill the void and reveal prices for everything-from an office visit to a cesarean section. In Massachusetts, a new law has forced health insurance companies to increase transparency by making all their prices public in advance. These online tools calculate the patient’s cost based on his or her plan. For instance, in Boston, the prices for an MRI range from $641 to $1,800. Most people don’t have a strong incentive to shop because the co-pay is typically the same no matter where one goes. However, with increasing deductibles, where patients pay the full cost of an office visit or test up to the amount of their deductible, it’s becoming more and more relevant.
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