Investigators at the U.S. Government Accountability Office have come out with another of those reports explaining what agents and brokers have been trying to say all along: That patients still have a hard time figuring out what their care will really cost.

Managers of public and private programs want to choose the cheapest, highest-quality providers, and dicker for good rates on surgery, but the providers' administrative offices rarely provide much information about how much care will really cost, and both public and private cost comparison tools tend to be lacking in detail, lacking in information about a broad range of services or hard to use.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.