In the rapidly emerging era of high-deductible health plans, consumers are commonly facing bills for services they have never had to pay for. And now providers must cope with the fall-out from their patients.

“Employers are trying to shift some of the enormous costs to their employees and it can lead to ‘sticker shock’ among uninformed consumers,” says Beth O’Toole, senior director, revenue cycle, at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To prepare patients for their financial obligations and to prevent bad surprises later in the revenue cycle, Beth Israel has begun offering a cost estimation service for certain patients. O’Toole described the effort at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual gathering taking place in Orlando this week.

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