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Some Mass. healthcare providers failing to provide pricing information

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) - Massachusetts was the first state in the country to pass a law requiring healthcare providers and insurers to make prices for procedures available to patients before procedures, but almost two years later a consumer watchdog has found the majority of those healthcare providers are failing to comply.

"Doctors and hospitals and dentists are required to let you know how much a procedure costs. As are insurance companies,” Barbara Anthony from the Pioneer Institute said.

Consumer watchdog Pioneer Institute surveyed about 100 doctors in four specialties and found they're not only failing to comply with the law, but they aren't training staff well enough to tell patients about it.

"The problem is that it's just not widely known and it’s not being complied with or implemented by the healthcare industry,” Anthony said.

Several people told FOX25 they didn’t even know the law existed, and it could've cost them hundreds if not thousands in out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

“[I'm] curious to know why that's not being advertised. Why they wouldn't be a little bit more upfront about it,” Michelle Acker said.

On the websites for two major Boston hospitals it can be difficult to find pricing information.

Doctors at the Massachusetts Medical Society said because of the complexity of the system, posting price lists online becomes problematic.

"Physicians appreciate and support the need for price transparency. However, the complexity of our health care payment system contributes to sometimes making it difficult to be precise,” a statement from the society said.

"That's not the right answer. It's not complicated when we get the bill,” Anthony, from the Pioneer Institute, said.