Baton Rouge hospitals post prices so patients can ‘shop’ for cost effective treatment options; critics issue warning

Hospitals nationwide list prices for procedures

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Patients will now have the option to compare prices before choosing the hospital where they receive treatment.

January 1, 2019 all hospitals around the country were mandated to post the prices of their basic services online in compliance with a federal rule aimed at increasing transparency between the medical industry and patients.

The mandate allows patients to “shop” for the hospital they believe is the most cost effective for their needs. However, critics warned the listed prices may mislead patients, many of whom rely on health insurance copays and deductibles rather than paying out-of-pocket. Those prices are determined by pre-negotiated rates between insurers and healthcare providers.

"Woman’s embraces transparency, but we feel this new law will cause increased confusion, as a hospital’s list of standard charges does not represent what a patient will pay,” reads an emailed statement from Woman’s Hospital to Baton Rouge Business Report’s Daily Report. “Patients need to talk to their insurer to fully understand their financial responsibility.”

The listed prices also vary from charges that could arise from an emergency medial crisis. In a crisis, patients and their loved ones may not have time to compare prices or even have the option to choose where they receive treatment.

“That’s true. But for a lot of services too, you know if you just need blood work or lab work or something like that, going to get a flu shot or something, then it’d be nice to be able to shop around because you would have more time to make those decisions,” said LSU Shreveport Economics Professor Tim Shaughnessy in an interview with KSLA.

Shaughnesy supports the rule, saying it is a good start and helps to “peel away at least one layer of complexity that doesn’t need to be there.”

You can view the price listings for hospitals in Baton Rouge by clicking the links below.

  • Baton Rouge General’s price list: Navigate to the insurance section on this page and click “hospital charges."
  • Our Lady of the Lake’s price list: Navigate to the bottom of this page and select the location you’d like to see prices for.
  • Ochsner Baton Rouge’s price list: Navigate to the bottom of this page and click “Download our Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge charges here.” 
  • Woman’s Hospital’s price list: Navigate to the “chargemaster” link on this page

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