U.S. HEALTH CARE PRICE INDEX SHOWS MEDICAL CARE PRICES DROPPED IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, DESPITE BROADER INFLATIONARY PRESSURES
National database of healthcare prices reveals relief for consumers' wallets, as average cash price of care decreased nationwide
NEW YORK CITY. N.Y., Oct. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Released today, the latest U.S. Health Care Price Index, the first national resource to publicly document the price of cash-pay medical care in America, shows that national average prices for everyday health care services decreased in August and September, in the face of record inflation.
Nationally, the price for a primary care telehealth visit decreased by 6.1% from July to September, and COVID screening appointment prices fell by 5.8% over the same period. On average, Americans also paid less for prescription refill and skin consult appointments, seeing prices lower by 4.1% and 5.3% respectively. For example, a skin consult cost $47.60 on average in July and $45.10 in September.
With demand for mental health services continuing to rise since the start of the pandemic, mental health consult prices have also increased. According to USHPI data, the average price of a mental health consult has risen 13.4% since May – from $42.50 to $48.20.
The USHPI features pricing data for routine medical services in all 50 states – from primary care and mental health to women's health and more - with additional prices and specialties to be added over time. In addition to regional and state comparisons, the USHPI tracks price variance and market trends on a monthly basis.
The entire USHPI database of monthly cash prices from May-September 2022 can be found here: www.sesamecare.com/compare/ushpi.
WHAT IS THE CASH PRICE OF MEDICAL CARE?
Simply put, the cash price is what a doctor or health care provider charges a consumer when a third-party payer - like insurance or a government entity - is not involved in the transaction. This could be because a patient does not have insurance, is underinsured or chooses to pay their provider directly, without involving a middleman.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASH PRICES?
In September, the average cash price of a primary care appointment in the United States, with a doctor or nurse practitioner, was $41.70. New Mexico was the most affordable state in which to book a visit (at $36.90), and Louisiana was the most expensive at $58.50. Regionally, western and southern states paid below average for primary care appointments, whereas patients in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest saw higher than average prices.
Americans who paid cash for a prescription refill appointment paid an average of $42 in August and September.
COVID screenings in August averaged $42.36 nationally, falling to $42.10 in September. Most affordable COVID appointments in September were found in Arizona and Florida at $36 and $38 respectively; states paying the highest were Maine ($55) and Oklahoma ($50).
WHAT IS THE METHODOLOGY USED TO COLLECT THE DATA?
The data comes from Sesame, one of the largest cash-pay health care marketplaces in the United States. It covers the thousands of healthcare providers resident in the marketplace that charge cash prices for their services. Sesame analyzed thousands of primary care and speciality care appointments made on its platform, leveraging pricing data for patient appointments that occurred during August and September 2022.
Sesame is building a radically new healthcare system for Americans who are uninsured or otherwise priced out of everyday care. The company's marketplace replaces historically
inefficient, expensive healthcare with a direct connection – either virtually or in-person – between patients and physicians. This direct connection enables Sesame to offer doctor visits, labs,imaging and prescription drugs at half the price. Founders include a Harvard Ph.D. in health policy and economics; a former Goldman Sachs analyst; and entertainment executive and healthcare reformer David Goldhill, author of the legendary cover story in The Atlantic, "How American Health Care Killed My Father." Sesame has raised $75 million so far from investors that include GV, Virgin Group and General Catalyst. The company was ranked #1 by Healthline for overall care in 2021 and 2022. For more information, please visit www.sesamecare.com.
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