Four Reasons Why Medical Practices Should Publish Their Fees

  1. Consumers deserve to know what your service costs. Why would anyone buy anything without knowing what it costs? Consumers should know both the value of the service as well as knowing what is their personal responsibility to pay.
  2. Publishing fees makes you justify them. Medical practices may not want to post their fees if they aren’t sure what their services truly cost. Other businesses charge what their services or goods cost plus a profit, why don’t we?
  3. You will find out if your prices are not competitive in the market. Patients will tell you. Then you will have to decide if you want to be competitive. If you are worried you can’t compete with a hospital-sponsored practice if they know your prices, stop worrying. The hospitals already know your prices.
  4. Publishing your prices will open the door for things to be simpler. Publishing fees will liberate you and your staff to talk much more openly with patients about their financial responsibility.

Posted in: Collections, Billing & Coding, Finance, Innovation, Practice Marketing

Leave a Comment (5) ↓


  1. Ken Cohn May 6, 2011

    Thanks Mary Pat

    Transparency is becoming increasingly important

    Those who do not jump on the bandwagon risk being accused of hiding something

  2. Brandon May 6, 2011

    Philosophically, I agree with your 5 points. But practically, I don’t think this is a good idea. Here is why:

    1)There is a huge discrepancy between what we charge for things and what we actually get. Thus, it makes it difficult to quote.
    2)Patients’ balances for services differ. Consequently, pinning down how much a patient will actually be responsible for is very tricky.
    3)Because of employer based health insurance, consumers are largely shielded from the true cost health care. Thus, publishing doesn’t give patients a good idea of what they are in for.
    4)Because health insurance companies discount doctors services so much, many doctors inflate their fees in order to get paid a fairly. So if we quote the actual price, it may get discounted and we lose money. Quoting the highest (accounting for the discount) may price us out of the market.
    5)Doctors offices don’t get paid equally for the same service.

    Until doctors are truly in control of “their” pricing (without a health insurance company that has a huge conflict of interest deciding what they think is appropriate reimbursement) for their service, we will be unable to simplify medical practice fees.

    I think a better idea, is putting pressure on health insurance companies to publish (for all to see) what they pay doctors for their services. Let’s start there.


    • Mary Pat Whaley May 8, 2011

      Hi Brenden,

      Thanks for your comments. I think they actually make my case even stronger. Patients must become oriented to real-world costs of healthcare. Physicians shouldn’t be forced to inflate their prices to make sure payers won’t discount them too deeply.

      I think patients will get the message if you publish your REAL fees and let patients know that their responsibility to pay may vary on their insurance plan.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat

  3. Richard May 19, 2011

    Define “REAL fees”

    Do you mean the amount an office charges or the amount they actually get paid?

    • Mary Pat Whaley May 21, 2011

      Hi Richard,

      There is no such thing as a “real fee.” There are fees that are set to take advantage of the most any payer will pay you, contractual allowables, discounts for self-pay patients, and sliding scale fees for the financially needy. I think patients need to know and understand this when they are shopping for a physician or a service.

      Best wishes,

      Mary Pat