Advocates for consumer-driven health care (CDHC) have argued for years that there should be more transparency when it comes to revealing the true cost of medical goods and services. After all, one of the main rationales for these types of health plans is that they encourage patients to ask their providers more questions about the course of care they are being recommended and then to pursue the path that will deliver the best results for the cost.

In practice, there is a problem with this presumption. It turns out that in the real world accurate pricing information is very difficult to ascertain and the price may be different for you than it is for me depending on the ability of the carrier that insures us to obtain discounts.

So, why not just ask your doctor how much the test he or she just ordered will actually cost? Well, the fact is your doc probably just doesn't know.

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