Finding out what an operation or a medical test costs at a hospital in California can take plenty of detective work.[@@]
Researchers with the California HealthCare Foundation, Oakland, Calif., have reported that conclusion in a study based on an informal “mystery shopper” survey of 64 hospitals in 5 California regions.
The foundation had the mystery shops pretend to be uninsured patients and had them try to determine the cost of certain procedures, then look for help with financing the procedures.
Although 470 of the 622 mystery shoppers eventually got firm or estimated prices, 152 of the mystery shoppers ended up without any price information whatsoever.