Our WNYC collaboration

How much do birth-control pills and mammograms cost?

How much do birth-control pills cost? How much does a simple procedure like a mammogram cost?

Prices vary widely in health care. Many people don’t know that, because it’s an opaque marketplace. We are working to bring transparency by telling people what things cost. Transparent markets benefit consumers, and we believe this market must become transparent too.

ClearHealthCosts is partnering with The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC-FM for a project investigating  some simple items and procedures, and we’re asking for your help.

We collected cash or self-pay prices for birth-control pills in the New York area, and the data team at WNYC plotted them on this map.  We’ve been writing about birth-control pills on our blog, using them as a way to look at the wide variations in prescription drug prices. Here are our posts on  the wide variations in priceskinds of pills,  buying at independent pharmacies vs. chains and  free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.

 

We are also doing a project reporting on  prices for mammograms. We’re interested in knowing not just what the cash price is, but also what is charged by the provider and what’s paid by the insurer.

We’ve collected some cash or self-pay prices, and you can see the prices we’ve collected for New York on this page, and  for Los Angeles on this page, and for San Francisco on this page.

What we’d like you to do: Tell us  your prices, reflected on your bills and your explanation of benefits from the insurance company, if applicable.

Here’s how: Here’s   the form from WNYC.

If you’ve paid cash for your mammogram, please enter that number in the form. If you’re insured, you might have received an explanation of benefits with a price charged, and the price paid by the insurance company. In that case, please enter the amount charged, and other information from your bill or explanation of benefits: “negotiated price” or “insurance discount” often appears on a bill. (If you have other, non-mammogram prices you’d like to share in our growing database, please use our our “Share what you paid” form.)

[UPDATED: Here is a blog post with some of the results, from nearly 400 people who shared their information. At the bottom of this post are links to other posts in the series.]