Health / Pharma

Medicare Opens a New Door to the Era of Big Data

If there’s a way of unlocking the black box that is U.S. medical pricing, it may come from an unlikely source: Medicare.
The agency that oversees the federally run insurance system – the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – quietly announced recently that it would “evaluate requests for individual physician payment information.” The final rules have yet to be written, but that bureaucratese, in plain English, could mean you’ll eventually be able to see what doctors are actually charging – or at least what they are reporting to Medicare.
Why is this important? In the quest to open up medical pricing, Medicare will be able to compile a database of medical charges, analyze it and come up with a means of comparison for the entire health care system.
How do you know if what your doctor is charging is reasonable and fair for your area? How do you find quality doctors who charge less for the same service? Is there a way of merging doctor quality data with payment information? Do some doctors charge more but deliver poorer service or have worse outcomes?

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