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  • How to Prevent Hemorrhoids May 20, 2015
    Many people have hemorrhoids at some time, and they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal, which can be painful but not usually serious. They are caused from too much pressure on the veins in …
  • Emergency Room Visits Increase with Obamacare May 15, 2015
    Obamacare predicted that expanding health insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits. A new study has found that newly insured people are actually visiting the ER more often, 40% more often than those who are uninsured. …
  • Transparency: Changing the US Healthcare System May 13, 2015
    Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid, is interviewed by David Saltzman of ShiftShapers. Mr. Weber has been in the benefits business since the mid 1990s, serving clients in the US, Canada, and around the globe. A lack of information …
  • Appalachia Sees Increased Cases of Hepatitis C May 11, 2015
    Infections of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection spread by blood contact, has more than tripled in Appalachia – Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – fueled by prescription drug abuse in rural areas. About 73% of patients are under …
  • An American Response to Losing ObamaCare Subsidies May 8, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court could, in King v. Burwell, uninsure 8 million Americans by finding that subsidies are illegal outside State Exchanges. Some Republicans are saying “Let it burn.” For Democrats, it’s “ObamaCare or nothing.” Can …
  • Arthritis Awareness – May Lab Specials May 6, 2015
    Nearly 53 million adults and 300,000 children in America have arthritis. By 2030, 67% of the population will suffer from one type of arthritis.  Arthritis, joint pain or joint disease, is the leading cause of disability in the United States. …
  • American Women are Drinking More Heavily May 4, 2015
    Barbara Feder Ostrov, Kaiser Health News Whether quaffing artisanal cocktails at hipster bars or knocking back no-name beers on the couch, more Americans are drinking heavily – and engaging in episodes of binge-drinking, concludes a major study of alcohol use. …
  • Shortage of Available Surgery Causes Deaths Worldwide May 1, 2015
    Millions of people die worldwide with treatable conditions because of the lack of routine surgeries, more than from malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Five billion of the seven billion people in the world cannot get needed surgery or pay for …
  • Cleaning Tips for a Healthy Home April 29, 2015
    Cleaning your home not only makes it look and smell better, it also can improve your family’s health.  Here are some activities you may not have thought of that will make you and your home healthy and safe: Dust Everything …
  • Using Mobile Devices at Night is Bad For Your Brain April 27, 2015
    Dr. Daniel Siegel, a psychiatrist from UCLA, states that staring into a glowing screen late at night is harmful to your brain and body. Staring at any screen at bedtime, be it computer, smartphone, or ipad, is worse than previously …
  • Few Patients Use Quality, Price Information To Make Health Decisions April 24, 2015
    by Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News Despite the government’s push to make health information more available, few people use concrete information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices, according to a poll released Tuesday. Prices for …
  • Shopping Tools Save Patients Cash on Medical Care April 22, 2015
    Vicki Burns of New Mexico needed a total hip replacement in 2012, but could not afford the hospital’s non-negotiable cash estimate of $79,000. Within two days of placing a patient request on MediBid, she received two bids. She chose a …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode 3 April 21, 2015
  • 20th Century Experiment Attempts to Turn Back Time April 20, 2015
    Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, conducted a radical experiment in 1979 – the results of which were never published. Last fall, this study was featured in the New York Times. The study examined how aging’s effects could be altered or …
  • https://youtube.com/devicesupport April 17, 2015
  • Make Spring Cleaning a Workout April 17, 2015
    Chores you do around the house and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles if done correctly. Short episodes of mild exercise can improve your fitness level if done with intensity and speed. Adding 30 minutes of chores …
  • Provisioning for the Opt Out Journey April 17, 2015
    Ophthalmologist David Richardson, MD on how to prepare for opting out of Medicare. From AAPS 70th Annual Meeting, September 2013, Denver, Colorado.
  • What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity April 16, 2015
    The United States was once considered the land of opportunity where entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford, Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs contributed to a flourishing economy by providing new products and services at prices people were happy to pay.Today America’s …
  • Obamacare Fines Debut This Tax Season April 15, 2015
    Taxes for 2014 are due this week, and your tax bill could be affected by your health insurance. If you had insurance during the entire calendar year of 2014 through an employer, a state exchange, or Medicare Part A, you …
  • Blood Transfusions: Less is More April 13, 2015
    The most common inpatient medical procedure in 2011 was the blood transfusion, with 12% of all hospitalized patients receiving one. The accrediting nonprofit Joint Commission reports transfusions as one of the five most overused hospital procedures. Now, there is a …

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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