Say what? How an $800 charge for hearing aids soared to a $3,600 healthcare bill | Los Angeles Times

You almost get the feeling that insurance companies are doing everything they can to avoid having to cover a legitimate (but pricey) medical expense.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology said in a 2015 report that a single hearing aid costs an average of $2,300. Most people need two. Nowadays, top-of-the-line models can easily run as much as $4,000 — per ear.

Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids either. Only some Medicare Advantage plans, such as the one Ettlin chose, include the devices as a benefit.

However, finding out actual costs can be a challenge. HCS, like nearly all providers of medical devices, apparently uses inflated prices when dealing with insurers to boost the amount the company actually receives.

So even though Ettlin’s eyes went wide when he first saw that $10,000 figure, the reality is that no one pays that much. This raises an important issue, though.

Why can’t the U.S. healthcare system have transparent pricing? Why do we routinely complicate and confuse things by starting with Fantasyland prices that every player in the healthcare equation admits in no way reflect actual costs or how much people are really charged?

I’ve spoken with insurers, hospitals, drugmakers, medical device manufacturers — not one could make a rational argument for this deliberately deceptive approach to pricing. I’ve been told again and again this is just how we do it.

That’s insane. President Trump says he wants to do something about the country’s ridiculously high drug prices. How about he broaden his horizons and require honest pricing for all healthcare products and services, with providers posting actual prices online for all to see?

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Say what? How an $800 charge for hearing aids soared to a $3,600 healthcare bill.