Recently my daughter sprained her ankle. Because she's a bit of a drama queen, I took her to urgent care after she refused to put weight on it for a day. The x-ray didn't show a fracture and they gave her a crutch and an Aircast, which she used for exactly one day before she was better.
A couple of months later, I got a bill for $150 for the crutch and aircast that we barely used.
Because of large deductibles and other reasons, we end up paying a lot of our outpatient healthcare expenses out of pocket. But the problem with that is that you have no idea what you're going to pay until the bill actually arrives. If they had told me it was going to be $150 for that stuff, I never would've taken it.
Think about how crazy it is. You would never go to a furniture store, buy a sofa, and just wait a few months until the bill comes to see how much you ended up paying for it. But that's what I'm constantly doing with my healthcare bills.
I can give multiple other examples. Recently, my own doctor ordered a lab test which I didn't think was entirely necessary, but I decided to let them get it anyway. The test ended up costing a shocking $300. I never ever would've approved it if I had any idea it would cost that much. And the clinician has no idea what these things cost, so no help there.
Fortunately for me, $300 won't break me. But there are plenty of families out there for whom $300 is a substantial chunk of money. They may go to the doctor and blindly accept any recommendations and then end up with a gigantic bill.
The solution? I'm not sure. We don't want people to forgo important task because they're expensive. But I also think that people have a right to know what they're paying before the bill comes in the mail.