This is not only a financial challenge. A large number are killed each year by "medical mistakes" and prescription drugs, though some of that is the fault of the drug takers.


As a start for what is wrong consider this advice from consumer reports on keeping bills under control:

Insurers negotiate prices with individual hospitals, medical practices, laboratories and other providers. Insurers often can bargain down prices more successfully with some providers than others. If you have not met your deductible, going to a lower-cost provider can save you hundreds or occasionally thousands of dollars.


Do not waste your time calling up the provider to ask the price. Providers can participate with dozens of plans and may have no way of knowing what yours pays them before you file the claim.

But the insurance company will know. Many health plans now enable members to look up some prices online. You must register at your insurer's website to use this service. If the health care procedure or service you are looking for is not listed on the website, call the insurer directly. Be aware, though, that some hospitals and doctors do not allow insurance companies to disclose their fees to plan members in advance.
I challenge anybody to find another industry, including financial services, which has such a byzantine price discovery process.

I love that. Some hospitals do not allow the insurance company to tell consumers what the price will be. Has Obama care fixed anything?