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Outside the Box: Finally, a simple solution to confusing health-care prices

Consumers have become accustomed to comparison shopping online to get the best prices for everything from a pair of Levi’s to a transatlantic flight.

That transparency, which works well for companies including Amazon AMZN, -0.26% has yet to transfer effectively to the world of health-care prices, where bills for such things as the $629 Band-Aid and the $15 Tylenol pill can leave the average person in sticker shock.

The current opacity of charges has obvious benefits to health systems, which essentially base their pricing on outmoded models and what the local market will bear, regardless of the discounts they must apply according to their contracted rates with insurers.

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