What if restaurants billed like hospitals?

(CC Liz West)
(CC Liz West)
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This post originally appeared at WHYY’s The Pulse.

Last week, we launched a new initiative with Clear Health Costs called WHYY PriceCheck to try to help create transparency around pricing for medical procedures.

We’re hoping many of you will pull out your old medical bills and enter the price of your procedure into our online database.  Since Friday’s launch, we’ve received 80 responses for a range of medical procedures, including colonoscopies.

“For [colonoscopies], we’ve seen the price range anywhere from under $2,000 to nearly $8,000,” said WHYY health reporter Elana Gordon, who has been monitoring this project. “That’s not necessarily what you paid depending on your insurance and what it covers but.. pretty big difference.”

We’ve also been getting some emails from listeners who are interested in the project. One of them came from Don Greenfield, who had an eye-opening experience looking at his wife’s medical bills about a year ago.

“I went to my insurance company’s website and looked at the explanation of benefits and my eyes opened up and my jaw dropped,” he says. “It was just an excruciating level of detail.”

There was the operating room, there was the recovery room, the room and board, the pharmacy, medical supplies and so on, he says.

So this got Greenfield thinking, ‘what if restaurants billed like hospitals?’ Here’s what he came up with:

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