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New Study Finds Patients Who 'Shop Around' For Health Care Don't Pay Less09:00
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Participants in a Harvard Medical School study were given access to a price comparison tool to see if it would make them spend less on health care. Long story short: It didn't. (Don Ryan/AP)
Participants in a Harvard Medical School study were given access to a price comparison tool to see if it would make them spend less on health care. Long story short: It didn't. (Don Ryan/AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Under Massachusetts law, patients should be able to find out — in advance — how much a medical procedure will cost. The idea behind the law is that if patients can shop around for their health care, they’ll end up paying less, and costs in general will go down.

A Harvard study out Tuesday is challenging that theory.

Guest

Carey Goldberg, co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog. She tweets @commonhealth.

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CommonHealth: Harvard Study Finds Shopping For Health Care Fails To Lower Costs

  • "So much for the idea that if you just let people shop for cheaper care, prices will surely go down."

JAMA: Association Between Availability Of A Price Transparency Tool And Outpatient Spending

  • "Mean outpatient spending among employees offered the tool was $2021 in the year before the tool was introduced and $2233 in the year after. In comparison, among controls, mean outpatient spending changed from $1985 to $2138. After adjusting for demographic and health characteristics, being offered the tool was associated with a mean $59 (95% CI, $25-$93) increase in outpatient spending."

This segment aired on May 3, 2016.

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