Arizona medical providers must post out-of-pocket prices on websites, policy says

Starting this year, every hospital in America was required to post their prices for common procedures on their websites.

The results have been eye-opening.

FOX 10's Steve Nielsen has been looking into the price disparities and also uncovered Arizona's largest hospital provider still hasn’t posted its prices.

However, that provider, Banner Health, says it will post its prices over the next few weeks.

A review of prices at hospitals might make you pause before booking an appointment without insurance. The same procedure at one Valley hospital can cost sometimes $10,000 more than at another Phoenix hospital.

A colonoscopy with a biopsy at four Arizona hospitals can range from $1,010 all the way up to $13,374. Kidney and urinary tract infections at the same four hospitals range by more than $10,000.

C-Sections show the same self-pay price disparity, from $25,000 to $35,000 depending on which hospital you go to.

Nonprofit health policy research group Kaiser Family Foundation says standard prices can’t account for complications.

They say it also can lead to confusion to consumers over how much insurance will cover. Also, it can be hard to shop hospital prices if your provider only uses one location.

The foundation believes It can lead to overall price change.

"That is the goal of price transparency, that it puts pressure on the market to lower prices," said Nisha Kurani with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Despite the federal regulations, Banner Health still has not posted its prices, and its website says it’s because of technical difficulties.

"Due to the extraordinary demands of the past several months, Banner, like many health systems, is still working to comply with the most recent pricing transparency regulations," officials with the hospital said.

Banner says consumers can call them for questions before prices are posted in the coming weeks.

Phoenix Dr. Kasey Nichols and president of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association says it matters most to the underinsured.

"More people should be aware of and some people aren’t going to care. They’re going to stay with their own previous providers but some people really do care about the price and they’re going to shop and find the best rate which will ultimately affect the system long term," Nichols explained.

The federal agency monitoring this, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said they’re reviewing noncompliance right now.

They said they may require corrective action plans or even daily fines for hospitals that don’t post their prices online.