The NCPA reports:
Unknown to most consumers, many hospitals and physicians offer steep discounts for cash-paying patients regardless of income. But there’s a catch: Typically you can get the lowest price only if you don’t use your health insurance, says the Los Angeles Times. …
Cash prices — typically available for hundreds of common outpatient services and tests — have a real appeal to millions of consumers who are on the hook for a growing share of their medical costs as employers and insurers cut back on coverage and push more high-deductible plans.
Robert Berenson, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and vice chairman of thePayment Advisory Commission, says big hospitals are exerting their market power to charge ever-increasing rates and major insurers go along with it because they can pass along the costs to employers and consumers.