Needing that knee surgery soon? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to compare prices before going under? Well, now you can. According to The Idaho Statesman, a new federal law that went into effect January 1, states that hospitals must not only publicly release their prices (already a requirement), but must post these price lists online in a format that could be downloaded.

This means that hospitals right here in the Treasure Valley like St. Luke's and St. Alphonsus must reveal just how much their medical services cost; from knee surgeries to lab tests.

So, should you rely on these prices? According to the Idaho Statesman...not entirely. After a ton of research, they found that the differences in prices are due to a variety of factors, including (but not limited to): patient's health, hospital equipment/staff costs, and even health care coverage.

Your best bet, according to the Statesman, check with your insurance provider to get the best estimate for your health care needs. At least these price lists are a good way to start your research!