National average prices of primary care telehealth visits have decreased 8.1% since July; specialty care prices including mental health consults also lowering
NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 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 health services continued to lower in October and November 2022 – marking a five-month trend of doctor’s appointments getting more affordable for consumers.
Nationally, the price for a primary care telehealth visit decreased by 8.1% from July to November, and COVID screening appointment prices fell by 7.8% over the same period. On average, Americans also paid less for prescription refill and UTI appointments, seeing prices lower by 7.3% and 5.6%, respectively. For example, it cost $41.80 on average in July for a UTI appointment and $39.45 in November.
The price of a mental health consult in America had been rising steadily since May 2022 and reached its peak in September 2022. In just two months’ time (October-November 2022), national average prices for mental health services decreased by 8%, making it more affordable for Americans to seek treatment, at just $44.36 for an appointment in November.
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-November 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, has a high-deductible health plan or chooses to pay their provider directly, without involving a middleman.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF RECENT CASH PRICES?
In November, the average cash price of a primary care telehealth appointment in the United States, with a doctor or nurse practitioner, was $40.82. Texas was the most affordable state in which to book a visit ($37.06), and Tennessee was the most expensive at $53.31. Regionally, western, mid-Atlantic and southern states paid below average for primary care appointments, whereas patients in the Northeast and Midwest saw higher than average prices.
Americans who paid cash for a prescription refill appointment paid an average of $40.56 in October and November.
COVID screenings in October averaged $43.19 nationally, falling to $41.23 in November. Most affordable COVID appointments in November were found in North Carolina and Arizona at $36 and $36.50, respectively; states paying the highest were Minnesota ($54) and Kentucky ($48).
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 specialty care appointments made on its platform, leveraging pricing data for patient appointments that occurred during October and November 2022.
Sesame is building a radically new healthcare system for uninsured Americans and those with high-deductible plans. 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 PhD 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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