With consumers paying more money for health insurance and higher deductibles, it seemed like a good idea to us that some states including Colorado were putting together a database of health-care costs for various procedures at different locations.
That way, when we have to pay huge out-of-pocket expenses for knee-replacement procedures to continue our lackluster skiing career, we can actually shop around for a good price.
We certainly do that when buying a home or a car. Not once have we gone home shopping at a mansion, only to discover we can only afford a condo. Yet, we’re expected to choose our surgeon and hospital without a firm idea as to what it might cost, and we certainly can’t judge hospital surgical costs by square feet or whether it has an indoor swimming pool or basketball court.
But the U.S. Supreme Court this week said in a 6-2 decision that states can’t do this anymore because it’s a burden on the federally regulated health plans.
Privacy advocates opposed the database, because it’s a database, and they fear personal information will get scooped up into the collection process.
Colorado has been collecting information on health care costs under legislation approved by Gov. Bill Ritter without any such breaches, and with Obamacare, it makes even more sense for consumers to have these details when choosing where they will seek health care.
Not only would it save us money, but it would save taxpayer dollars that are now pouring into the health care system.
Colorado officials have indicated they will continue to gather the information on a voluntary basis, and for now, consumers can still shop around at the state’s website here.