Frequently Asked Questions
How are blue book prices determined?
The blue book price is determined in reference to industry data from numerous providers, payors and employers across the United States. The data are then processed to identify the payment amount that many high-quality providers accept as payment in full.
How do blue book prices compare to “billed charges”?
Blue book prices are generally much lower than billed charges. Hospitals and doctors keep track of their services with two different fee schedules: 1) billed charges and 2) negotiated rates. While providers are generally able to set billed charges to whatever amount they would like, they typically have a range of acceptable negotiated payment rates that they agree to accept as payment in full from insurance companies. As a cash paying consumer, you may ask your hospital or doctor to charge you a fair price.
Do doctors and hospitals that charge more money provide better care?
No. While nothing is more important than quality when facing healthcare decisions, fortunately you don’t have to pay more to get quality care. There are many quality providers who charge no more, and sometimes less, than other providers. Quality hospitals and doctors that do it right the first time will have lower complication rates and errors, which will improve your health and save you money. In fact, a recent survey showed that if all Americans went to the Mayo clinic for their care, we could raise quality and still lower costs by 25% or $500 billion. See this Dartmouth Study.
How can I know the quality of my provider?
Be willing to ask your doctor about their quality programs and the results. Check your physician’s credentials (AMA or DocBoard). Additional state specific quality information can be found here. If you are having surgery, ask about their outcomes compared to benchmarks or standards. For hospitals, you can see quality indicators here. You can also check their accreditation status by checking The Joint Commmission.
Who pays for the Healthcare Blue Book site?
The Healthcare Blue Book site is paid for by selling advertising on the site to companies that provide health related products and services. We have advertising for many different types of products and services which keeps us impartial. Since the Healthcare Blue Book doesn’t sell any healthcare products, our content isn't biased towards any specific products. We function as an online data source: Our job is to report all the facts regarding healthcare pricing and let you make your own decision regarding which products or services are right for you.