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Instant Insights / Health Care Cost Transparency, Surprise Billing, and the Employee Benefits Industry

Typically, patients, and their employers, don't know the cost of health care or are given inaccurate estimates. Then come the surprise medical bills and costly overruns of employers' benefits budgets. Here's a look at the health care cost transparency problem and how people are trying to solve it.

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My story begins with a return flight home on a Friday night after a stressful business trip. During the flight, I began to experience multiple symptoms: shortness of breath, rapid and irregular heartbeat, and varying pain in my calves.

There was some turbulence on the flight, and while I’m not typically affected by it, I attributed my symptoms to anxiety over a subconscious fear of the plane not landing safely. But my symptoms continued throughout the night even after my safe arrival home, then carried into Saturday and Saturday evening. When I woke up early Sunday morning and continued to experience the symptoms, with even more acute pain in my calves, I did what every self-taught “physician” would do and entered the various warning signs into WebMD. WebMD indicated that my likely condition was a pulmonary embolism and instructed me to call 911 as my condition was urgent.

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