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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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Stethoscope and dollar Prices paid by UnitedHealth’s commercial health plans, based on claims from 12.5 million tests, varied from three-fold up to 24-fold or more for different types of tests. (Photo: Shutterstock)

U.S. consumers could save more than $18 billion a year if providers stopped overpricing their diagnostic and testing services, according to a new report from UnitedHealth Group (UHG). The insurance giant said it found prices can vary significantly for common tests such as MRI scans and echocardiograms.

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