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Medical schools are finally teaching students about health care costs

Doctors Seek Higher Fees From Health InsurersDoctors Seek Higher Fees From Health Insurers

Patients are no doubt familiar with the sometimes puzzling world of health costs, but until recently, those providing the care—doctors themselves—have been insulated from dealing with the dollars and cents of medicine. Instead, they’ve been directed to provide the best care possible, no matter the cost.

That is finally changing, NPR reports. Medical schools are now integrating information about cost and value into their lessons.

According to a survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges, 129 of 140 medical schools that responded said that a course on the cost of health care was required during the 2013-2014 school year. Nearly 40% of schools also said they offered elective courses on the subject.

Why the sudden change?

The Affordable Care Act, for starters. Obamacare is moving toward a model where doctors are rewarded for providing high-value care, NPR says. High-deductible insurance plans are also a factor. Because patients with such plans must pay for a certain amount of their care out-of-pocket before their insurance kicks in, they’re becoming more concerned about cost.