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  • Hobby Lobby wins Supreme Court case, can opt out of mandate July 23, 2014
    The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against Obamacare mandates.  They decided that the government cannot force employers to violate their religious beliefs.  Christian corporation Hobby Lobby did not want to have to cover certain types of …
  • Hundreds of Newborns to have Genomes Sequenced July 21, 2014
    Genome sequencing would not replace the newborn screening tests most states require. They are researching if sequencing is better than regular screening at detecting genetic disorders, immune function, as well as metabolic disorders. Researchers believe that cataloguing a newborn’s genome …
  • VA Seeks Help from Corporate Healthcare Giant HCA July 18, 2014
    The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has recruited the Chief Medical Officer of hospital giant HCA, Dr. Jonathan Perlin, to help them find solutions for all the problems of their mismanaged system. Dr. Perlin is known for being a leader in …
  • The Trap Known as Health Insurance July 16, 2014
    The cost of health care is on the rise and is continuing to grow exponentially. One of the biggest factors to this cost is health insurance. Third parties don’t care about quality or affordability. They are spending your money for …
  • Current Health System Provides No Privacy for Patients July 14, 2014
    Dr. Deborah Peel has advocated for patient privacy for over 20 years.  She explains to the tech community how breaches in computer systems using electronic health records destroy privacy.  When patients are in control of their own money and move …
  • Is There a Link Between Saturated Fat & Heart Disease? July 11, 2014
    For the last several decades, we have been taught that saturated fats in butter, cheese, and meat are dangerous for your health. The truth is that this has never been proven. Countries that have high fat diets do not have …
  • Wellness Health Check – July Special July 7, 2014
    Men and Women’s Health Check Blood Tests for $99! (Retail is $800) This is a good way to be proactive and keep up with your health and that of your loved ones. Women’s Test includes: The Comprehensive Wellness Panel(CWP) is …
  • Physicians’ Declaration of Independence July 4, 2014
    by Richard Amerling, MD A physician’s responsibility is to the patient. To protect the patient-physician relationship, payment should be decided between these two parties, assuring all information is kept confidential. Involving third parties is destructive to the patient-physician relationship. Physicians …
  • Ralph Weber: Healthcare with Transparency in Quality & Pricing July 2, 2014
    MediBid helps patients find the best treatment solution for them at the best quality and price. Physicians set their own prices and this transparency allows for competition. MediBid started as a means for Canadians on waiting lists to get timely …
  • Steps to Increase Price Transparency June 30, 2014
    Summary by The Market Institute The Center for American Progress recently published a brief detailing their opinion on how hidden health care costs are hindering market competition and ultimately making healthcare expensive for consumers. Unlike almost every other scenario in …
  • How Obamacare Affects the Affordability of Your Medical Care June 27, 2014
    Those who do not get health insurance from their employers or Medicaid/Medicare find their premiums increasing, some states more than others. While some people will be eligible for Obamacare tax credits, many will still have to pay these premium increases …
  • Canada needs a prosperous Ontario June 27, 2014
    Ontario’s poor economic performance is dragging down Canada’s economy.A Fraser Institute study, Can Canada Prosper without a Prosperous Ontario?, examines Ontario’s shift from the economic engine of Canada to a “have not” province that received $3.2 billion in equalization payments …
  • Why Coconut Milk Might Not Be Your Friend June 25, 2014
    Those following a Paleo diet get most of their fat from coconut milk. Coconut milk is great for making smoothies. Canned coconut milk may contain BPA, a chemical which can leach out of the metal and into acidic foods, such …
  • Increasing Cost of Medical Care Can Make You Sick June 23, 2014
    At the onset of an illness or serious injury, Americans are finding the costs too much to bear – even when they have insurance. Medical expenses are the biggest financial burden in American households today. Nearly 50% of Americans cannot …
  • Natural Alternatives for Sun Protection and Sunburn Treatment June 20, 2014
    With summer activities in full swing, many of them outdoors, it is important to remember to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Some exposure is beneficial, and can cause your skin to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin …
  • Your HSA Can Double as an IRA June 18, 2014
    Some Americans are supplementing thier retirement funds with a Health Savings Account. People with a high-deductible insurance plan can have an HSA to cover future medical expenses. There is a penalty to withdraw this money for nonmedical reasons, yet after …
  • OMTEC 2014 – The Past, Present and Future of the Implant Market: A Surgeon Inventor Perspective June 17, 2014
    What does the future hold for the orthopaedic implant market? Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr., a globally recognized spine surgeon, entrepreneur and inventor, provides a look at the industry past and present and answers the question: How will the development …
  • Real Illness or Not? June 16, 2014
    by Sue Redmond Should Doctors prescribe for a “non-disease”? Infants spit up.  Many on a daily basis (some studies show as high as 40-70%).  Just one of the reasons may be that they drink a large volume of liquids and …
  • How Obamacare Impacts Small Businesses June 13, 2014
    Cost increases due to Obamacare will be sharp and immediate for small businesses. As they renew their group health plans, they are discovering an onslaught of new regulations which will also affect their future hiring and business growth. Over 60% …
  • B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious consequences June 11, 2014
    Symptoms of B12 deficiency include: Alzheimer’s, dementia, other memory loss MS and neurological disorders mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar) heart disease learning disorders in children autism spectrum autoimmune disease cancer infertility   B12 deficiency is quite common, more so than …

Market Based Patient Care

by Ralph Weber

Health plans are expensive because medical care is expensive. Will shopping across state lines for insurance fix that? It’s a nice sound bite, and will allow the insured to drop some of their own state mandates, but the biggest input to the cost of a health plan, is the underlying cost of the medical care financed by this plan. If you buy a plan in Shreveport, and use it in San Francisco, it will trend up in costs.

During the year-long healthcare debate, I did not hear ONE person ask why medical care is so expensive. They barely even asked why health insurance was expensive, but if 85% of the premium for health insurance must be paid out in medical costs with the new medical loss requirement, and we have not addressed the cost of medical care, then insurance premiums will CONTINUE to rise at an unsustainable rate. Enacting health insurance reform without addressing the cost of medical care, is like putting a new roof on a building which was in an earthquake.

Here’s how the Feds put the fix on health care pricing.

It all starts with a Federal agency called the Center for Medicare Services (CMS).  They set the reimbursement rates for some 14,193 medical procedures.  How they come up with these figures is based on a “secret formula” calculated like most government methods of accounting. Then CMS pays the AMA (American Medical Association) to produce and manage “secret codes” called Current Procedural Terminology codes (CPT codes).  The AMA then sells these codes to all doctors and hospitals, and insurance billing clerks.  Altogether, they receive annual income reported to be $69.9 million, to manage these codes. Insurance companies then use the reimbursement rates as a starting point in determining how much should be covered as an insurable benefit under the term, you no doubt recognize: “co-insurance”.

In any business model where prices are fixed and paid by a third party, the patient (consumer) and doctor (provider) both have an incentive to consume more services than may be needed in order to gain maximum benefit. This is why these programs have become entitlements, rather than indemnity programs. If patients travel to Kansas for a bunionectomy or to New Jersey for a knee replacement, or Oklahoma for a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, and you allow doctors and hospitals to compete across state lines, with their own rates, THEN you will achieve fair market rates, and sustainable costs.

Each doctor and hospital has different costs for different procedures, and each medical provider includes different services with any given procedure. When a third party arbitrarily decides to pay Dr. X in Los Angeles the same as they pay Dr. Y in Miami, some doctors will be overpaid for certain procedures, and underpaid for others. Patients will receive “cost effective” procedures, which may not be what they really need. How many times have you turned on the TV and heard a vendor offer, “If you have Medicare, we’ll get it paid for, or you get your scooter free.”? Would you get one if you had to pay $25,000 of your own money? Take your car to a body shop and get an estimate to fix a dent. Then say: “oh, I forgot to mention, I have insurance”. The price will suddenly go up. This is because both the consumer and the provider are spending other people’s money.

So how can we address the costs of medical care? By allowing doctors and hospitals to compete across state lines, not just insurance companies, and by having the patient see the true cost of the care, and direct their own care. A key element completely missed in healthcare reform.

In recent years, an industry known as “Medical Tourism” has emerged, and is projected to grow at an estimated 35% per year. Medical tourism brokers send people overseas with “promised” savings which compare “billed rates” in the US to “paid rates” overseas. There often exists an added incentive for these brokers to send you overseas in the 20% to 80% or more that they get in kickbacks from the facility they send you to. These kinds of kickbacks are illegal in the US, so these brokers usually won’t refer you to a US facility. Deloitte estimates that by the year 2017 as much as $599.5 billion per year of medical care revenues could be lost from the US, in favor of overseas facilities.  There is a very important place for overseas medical facilities in caring for US patients, but they are often not competitive on price. When US doctors and hospitals are permitted to set their own rates, they can usually compete very favorably with overseas facilities. A service such as MediBid.com allows patients to shop domestically as well as internationally, and define their own criteria for medical care.

The status quo, and the reformed healthcare model lack transparency, as well as financial incentives for both provider, and consumer to reduce costs. In order to reduce costs while encouraging technological improvements, we need to introduce competition among doctors and hospitals.

Ralph F. Weber, President of MediBid, was born in Vancouver, Canada, and grew up in Thailand, Nepal, and Germany. After starting an international health insurance brokerage in Canada, Ralph’s wife was injured by a 2 ½ year wait for surgery, and his son sustained a head injury which was not treated because of the lack of a CT machine at the hospital in Canada. In 2005, Ralph moved to California to obtain surgery for his wife, and expanded his brokerage there. In 2006, Ralph participated in a healthcare forum with presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani. Ralph later contributed healthcare reform policy to Mayor Giuliani, and state assemblyman, Mike Villines. Driven by a passion for greater access, transparency, and value in healthcare, Ralph and a group of private investors started MediBid. MediBid does what politicians have failed to do to healthcare for decades: To control costs, expand access, and offer quality choice and value to patients through a free market system. MediBid allows patients to shop for medical for medical care in a free market system.

 

Self Funded



At MediBid, we restore market forces to medical care. Doctors get to set their own rates based on their training, experience, and outcomes, and patients get to shop for medical care across state lines and international borders. Many times with MediBid, you will find procedures that are more effective than procedures allowed, or covered by health plans. Transparency and competition are the only way to achieve reasonable costs. Many of our employer clients offering group health insurance through MediBid save $5,000 per employee per year. Those are substantial savings. Patients are saving an average of 48% vs. insurance discounted rates, or 80% vs. retail. Contact us for more information.
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