"We will post our prices relative to Blue Cross and Aetna, our contractual prices, and we'll challenge Baptist and the other systems in the community to do the same,'' Sonenreich said in the radio interview.
Seven-hospital system Baptist Health South Florida CEO Brian Keeley was also in the radio studio for an interview and, while he declined to accept Sonenreich's challenge for price transparency, he acknowledged "That's where the whole industry is going, undoubtedly."
If Mount Sinai follows through on Sonenreich's promise, it will likely create a positive perception among the public when it comes to price transparency—something that will only grow in importance as healthcare reform changes the way consumers pay for insurance coverage and prices become a bigger factor in patient decisions.
"We're moving more from co-pays to co-insurance, which means that instead of paying a dollar amount for an MRI, say $100 out-of-pocket, now they're moving it toward a percentage of the price, so you might be paying 20 percent,'' Steven Ullmann, a professor of health management and policy at the University of Miami, told the Herald. "So 20 percent of a $1,000 MRI is going to be really different in terms of out-of-pocket costs versus a $3,000 MRI.''
And once the internal panic over transparent pricing course corrects, I suspect many organizations will ultimately offer the same services and procedures for a similar price.
And, when that occurs, marketers need to be sure consumers have a clear reason to choose their organization over all the other cupcakes… I mean hospitals.