Zurik: 'Cracking the Code' gets big response - but we still need you
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hundreds of FOX 8 viewers have told us their stories, given us the cost of their healthcare, and the stories behind their high costs.
"It is chaos," says Dave deBronkart, a patient's advocate and publisher of the blog EPatientDave.com. "It's impossible for anyone to find out how much anything costs. And then people wonder why costs keep spiraling upwards."
FOX 8 News and our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune have launched a new investigative project - Cracking the Code: The Real Cost of Healthcare. Our goal is to bring transparency to prices in the metro area.
We've worked with journalist Jeanne Pinder and her blog, ClearHealthCosts.com, to create an online interactive tool that helps you submit your healthcare costs. It also lets you search around to see costs throughout the metro area.
Our online database is growing. We've had viewers give us prices on colonoscopies, MRI's, office visits - the list of procedures is long.
"I think that, if people know what's out there, they're more likely to demand something," says Robert Field, a law professor at Drexel University and an expert on health management and policy. "In a sense, knowledge is power. The less you know, the more you can get hit by a surprise bill."
We still need your help gathering prices.
We need the cost of any procedure you've had. We want you to add all that information into our website.
For each procedure, you should have an "Explanation of Benefits" form, or an EOB. Pull out that form.
Log on to FOX8Live.com/health. You'll find an interactive tool that allows you to enter your information - all of this is private.
At the top, enter the type of procedure you had, or what's called the CPT code - the number that goes with the procedure. For a vasectomy, it's 55250.
Next, put the hospital, medical office or doctor's office where you had the procedure. You need to let us know if you have insurance and, if so, list your health insurer.
Enter the date of the procedure, and the total price you were billed. Then, enter what insurance paid and what it cost you.
You can give us your email and phone number - we won't make those public, but they will help us contact you if we have any questions about your information. You can even upload your EOB form privately, directly to us.
If you have a story to tell us or feel more comfortable emailing in your documents, do so at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can always call us 504-483-1558 - just leave a message and we'll respond as quickly as possible.
We're asking you to join FOX 8 News and NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune over the next few months - and help us as we try to crack the code of healthcare costs.
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