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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cost Share Program by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Aspirin for headache.... 30 cents, medication for cough……. $3, antibiotics for flu…… $40. Being treated at some of the top notch hospitals.... an extra $1000. They say all good things in life are free, as long as you are not going to a hospital.

Recently Blue Cross Blue shield of Massachusetts introduced Hospital Choice Cost-Share Program. It is based on a system of High Cost hospitals and High Value hospitals. This year it was determined by CMS that all hospitals met the quality bar in Massachusetts

So these hospitals were than classified on the basis of cost meaning High Cost versus High Value hospitals. If you choose this program and if you decide to go to “high cost hospital”, you will end up with a higher co pay after their deductible. So far I hope this is not too confusing.

OK here goes, various hospitals charge different amount for the same services. So let’s say for a certain test one hospital charges you $1000 and another hospital charges to $600 for the same service. If you choose a Higher Cost Hospital you will pay your standard deductible + $450 co pay, for a lower cost hospital you pay only your co pay. However, if you go for the same test again within a year, for a Higher Cost Hospital you will pay $450 co pay, for a lower cost hospital you pay zero dollars. If you choose this program your premiums would not hike as much for next year.

Now if you decide to see the top 15  providers in Massachusetts, you would have to pay a higher out of pocket expense almost $1000, including hospitals like Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard and University of Massachusetts Hospital (UMASS). Not so for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Harvard (BIDMC) which was considered to be a low cost institute. I can relate to these issues as I saw it first hand when I was working at BIDMC and also at UMASS.

What impact this would have nationwide is still yet to be determined. I think if this becomes a trend with other insurance agencies and Medicare too, it may result in a paradigm shift in the way some hospitals do their billing. As we all know hospitals bills are not an easy thing to deal with regardless of what insurance you have. I wrote about this issue here (Bankruptcy, You Could Be Next).

Blog You Later.

About the picture: My very first day at UMASS many many many years ago.

1 comment:

Arshia said...

Interesting! See these are the differences between international medical practices that we don't really think about!