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Powerless to judge health care value, cost

One argument in the health care debate is that citizens will pursue the most cost-effective care if they have more responsibility to pay for it.

An Indiana Supreme Court ruling this week points out just how difficult it is to find out how to get the best care for the best price.

The case involved patients of Clarian Health Partners who were billed what they deemed unreasonable fees. The court found 5-0 for Clarian, reasoning – as Doug Masson’s Blog pointed out – that the patients had signed a contract to essentially pay whatever fee Clarian charged, reasonable or not.

The court noted: “Clarian considers its chargemaster rates confidential and proprietary. Left unanswered by Clarian is how a patient and a provider can mutually agree to an ‘unambiguous’ and ‘express’ chargemaster fee schedule that is not available to the patient.”