One of the sites mentioned in this article has been covered a couple times on the blog here. It began in the state of Washington and recently went nationwide. There’s quite a difference in price on the story quoted below on an MRI for a knee from $2500 to the $300 actually paid. Who would have ever thought we would be “shopping” for healthcare and the internet has largely been responsible for this new effort.
“The initial pilot was done in Washington and now it is moving into a nationwide effort. I posted about the company back in Augusts and you can see a video and find more details at the link below. You can also follow the site on Twitter.
Health care consumers are encouraged to comparison-shop on things like doctor’s fees and heart surgery rates. But unfortunately, most of us have little clear or useful information to go shopping with.”
Also from the prior post on the one website you can actually put your surgical procedure up for bid. Recently I attended the World Healthcare Tourism conference in Los Angeles and they also want your business. One comment made by most all the individuals I spoke with was the item of cost whereby they could quote and in the US it is still much of an unknown with fee for service.
With the current state of affairs for many hospitals in the US, with around 55% already operating in the red, this serves to benefit the patient but perhaps not the hospitals who are struggling to survive. BD
“When you go to the doctor, how much you fork over when all is said and done is often just a mystery,” said Dr. Anthony P. Geraci, a Manhattan neurologist who is trying to buck that trend by posting his prices on his Web site.
Having seen an ad for PriceDoc.com, a new Web site that lists doctors throughout the country who are willing to post their prices and negotiate with patients, she decided to try it. Ms. Kyser found a nearby clinic where doctors charged only $75 for the exam.
“I was a little nervous at first because the price was so cheap, but when I got there, it was wonderful,” Ms. Kyser said. “Everyone was so professional and helpful.”
HealthcareBlueBook.com compiles prices paid for specific treatments and procedures in ZIP codes throughout the country, then lists what the site determines is a range of fair prices. Consumers can then use these ranges as a jumping-off point for negotiating with their providers, said Dr. Jeffrey Rice, the chief executive of the concern.
Another Web site, OutOfPocket.com, combines price information that users send in to determine a going rate for specific health care costs throughout the country.
Dr. Rice tells the story of a woman in northern Ohio who had been quoted a price at a local hospital of $2,500 for an M.R.I. of her knee. When she looked up the test on the site, she found the fair price in that area was more like $500.
She went back to the hospital where she had been quoted the high price and started asking questions. The clerk told her it would be much less expensive if she went to the clinic down the street instead of the hospital. The woman followed that advice and paid $300 for her M.R.I.