- I have an HDHP with a high deductible ($8k) I'm not going to meet
- I have an expensive, but ordinary and low-risk specialist vsiit coming up and am trying to shop around (within my PPO's network) for the best rate. Cost is in the thousands, but definitely nowhere near meeting the deductible.
The offices affiliated with larger health networks (Stanford, Palo Alto Medical foundation, etc.) are not being transparent at all. When I ask for the contracted/negotiated rates, they'll transfer me to the billing department who either A) outright refuses to divulge the info or B) claims to not know and directs me to my insurance. My insurance company (Anthem) also is refusing to provide the contracted rates/allowable amount, basically claiming they don't know/won't provide them/ask the provider. (This whole thing striking me as absurd as both sides should know this information.)
I figure the point of an HDHP is for patients to face higher deductibles and thus be incentived to cut costs, but I'm finding this difficult - making me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. What's the proper way to figure out what a procedure will cost given insurance info, billing codes, and provider?
(Similarly, are the negotiated rates for provider 1 and provider 2 similar? e.g. can I use the cost estimates for that small office as an estimator for what I'll pay at a different provider?)