“When people go to the supermarket, they expect prices to be clearly posted in the store and then listed in an itemized receipt at checkout. If shoppers notice they’ve been overcharged for a carton of milk, they assume the cashier will issue them a refund on the spot.” our partner Jed Lipinski writes over at NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. “If only things were so straightforward in the health care industry. To start, patients often have no idea what a procedure will cost before they get it. When they finally receive an ‘explanation of benefits’ in the mail – the document that notes what the insurance company paid and what the patient owes – they may discover that the name of the procedure or the five-digit code assigned to it is missing. ‘It’s a truly maddening phenomenon,’ said Dr. Michael Ellis, a professor of otolaryngology in New Orleans and a former president of the Louisiana Medical Society. ‘By not including the name of the procedure or the code, there’s no way to know if you’ve been overcharged or charged for something that never even happened.'” Jed Lipinski,“For some Louisiana health insurers, explanations of benefits are anything but,” NOLA.com.

For more from our series, go to this page describing the Cracking the Code partnership of NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune, WVUE FOX 8 Live and ClearHealthCosts, and cataloging our news coverage. For more on our national partnerships, go to this page.

DID YOU SAVE money with information from ClearHealthCosts or “Cracking the Code?  Tell us by email at info@clearhealthcosts.com or health@fox8live.com.

DO YOU HAVE PRICES to share to help build our community-created guide to health care? Or are you looking for price information?

Click over to our New Orleans PriceCheck interactive software at WVUE Fox 8 Live and at NOLA.com I The Times-Picayune. Search our prices in our New Orleans-focused partnership. For non-New Orleans shares and searches, here’s the search and share page on our national ClearHealthCosts site.

ARE YOU A PROVIDER wishing to share prices?

This page has a sample spreadsheet showing the data that will let us include your prices. Download, fill it out and return to us at info@clearhealthcosts.com or health@fox8live.com.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...