This is fine, but … isn’t this what insurers are for? If one hospital on one side of Boston charges much less than another hospital on the other side of Boston, then shouldn’t my insurer be willing to pay me to use the cheaper hospital?

Similarly: shouldn’t my insurer be willing to fly me to another state or even another country, if the cost of airfare plus the cost of the foreign medical care is less than the cost of the local medical care? And if I refuse to fly to India for dental surgery, shouldn’t my insurer say to me, “Fine, but you need to pay us a fee for not having taken the cheapest equivalent medical care”?

I’m not saying this is necessarily desirable. But it’s puzzling that the brave new world of medical care involves my sitting on the phone for hours, rather than letting my insurer take care of it. Paging Corey Robin