This week I wrote about the importance of insurance. In our small City, Roanoke, there is a coalition for responsible health care trying to protect the public from increased health care prices set by a large local hospital system.

In today’s paper is an article on the Coaltion. Roanoke Times reporter Sarah Bruyn Jones writes about the latest meeting wherein “Much of the discussion focused on the price for care and the discrepancy between a hospital charge and what an insurance company actually pays for a particular service.

“If you don’t have insurance, you pay top dollar because you don’t have someone negotiating for you,” King said. “When we know what the price is we can compare, and once we can compare we can choose. And when we can choose we are no longer in the dark. As long as we are in the dark, we are paying far more than we should be.”

Lewis Hopkins said that because he has insurance with a $5,000 deductible he wanted to be able to price medical care like he could when shopping around for other purchases. But, he said, he couldn’t get straight answers from providers.

“I think these stories are enlightening and I think they are the good if it brings us together to do something to change the system,” said Sandra Meador, one of the coalition’s active members.

The coalition unveiled six goals, including asking that all medical service providers supply itemized bills for services and making lists of charges available to the public.”

Not knowing prices of health care – I know, sounds crazy. Could you imagine calling a lawyer and asking what their hourly rate is, and the answer is “well – we will see..” or “it depends.” How about getting an oil change at the same place for years and never knowing what they will charge. So why should healthcare be different?
According to free market, competition is vital – so how can you compete when you don’t know the charges?

Keep up the good work coaltition!


Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at