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  • How to Fight and Prevent Sugar Cravings February 27, 2015
    The average American consumes about 16 teaspoons more sugar per day than what is recommended. Sugar causes the brain to release serotonin, creating a natural high, and the endorphins leave us wanting more. Kicking a sugar addiction can be tough, …
  • Hospital Closures Bring “New Day” in Healthcare February 25, 2015
    Hospitals are operating with fewer beds or closing, as patients seek more affordable medical care at clinics and outpatient surgery centers. A low occupancy rate makes for a high-priced facility, which is not competitive. These closures are due to the …
  • Do Your Part to Protect Your Heart – February Special February 23, 2015
    February is Heart month. Protect the health of your heart, preventing heart disease and stroke, with a simple blood test. Below are the February specials from DirectLabs. Lipid Profile – $19 (Regular Price $29, $98 Retail) Test includes: Cholesterol, Total …
  • The Various Dimensions of Mammogram Screening February 20, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely Every year, over 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 40,000 will die from it. When breast cancer is detected early, it is easier to treat. Forty million mammograms are performed each …
  • Crashing the Free Market Party February 16, 2015
    by G. Keith Smith MD Riding in to rescue the victims of Obamacare and other government healthcare schemes are guess who? The legislators? The regulators? Don’t make me laugh. It is the growing group of healthcare free marketeers. The celebration …
  • Dark Chocolate is Good For You and Your Valentine February 13, 2015
    Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients, one of the best sources of antioxidants, and can improve health and lower risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is very nutritious. It contains a fair amount of soluble fiber and is full of …
  • The Fraser Institute: Education Spending in Canada February 12, 2015
    Despite a steady decline in student enrolment, spending on public schools in Canada has skyrocketed.Teachers’ unions and activists repeatedly claim that education spending is being cut and school budgets are in peril. That’s simply not true and ignores the reality …
  • Eye-Tracking Test Detects Early Alzheimer’s Disease February 11, 2015
    One in nine Americans over 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. There is no way to revive dead cells, but if detected early enough, the disease progression can be slowed with treatment. Spinal fluid analysis and PET scans can detect the approaching …
  • OMTEC 2014 – Emerging Trends in Orthopaedic Device Packaging February 11, 2015
    Laura Bix, Associate Professor, School of Packaging, Michigan State University discusses current and emerging trends in orthopaedic device packaging at OMTEC 2014.
  • Fee for Service Healthcare Just Makes Sense February 9, 2015
    Contrary to what the HHS has stated, the fee-for-service payment model has nothing to do with abuse or wasteful spending. This model has been the standard method of payment for a wide range of goods and services from the beginning …
  • A Healthy Heart at Any Age February 6, 2015
    Any age is a good age to take care of your heart. Smart choices now can pay off for the rest of your life. There are some simple steps to keep your heart healthy during each decade of life. All …
  • FRASER INSTITUTE 40th Anniversary 2014 February 5, 2015
    The Fraser Institute is an internationally-recognized research and education organization, ranked first among Canadian think tanks and in the top 20 globally. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, …
  • Cut Your Costs by Just Not Paying February 4, 2015
    If patients all got healthy, medical costs would plummet. And if doctors weren’t paid for caring for patients who don’t get healthy, costs would also plummet. This seems to be the reasoning behind the Obama Administration’s ambitious plans for payment …
  • Measles – What You Need to Know February 2, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely Over the last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 67 cases of measles traced to Disneyland, and the number continues to rise. This was a souvenir people didn’t plan for. For a disease that …
  • Free Markets are Destroyed by Congress, Not Created January 30, 2015
    By Jane M. Orient, M.D. When people clamor for Congress to pass a “free-market health plan,” they are forgetting two things: Congress only does laws, which restrict freedom. We need fewer laws, not more. And the free market is by …
  • Ralph Weber Talks MediCrats with FreedomWorks – Part 3 January 26, 2015
    MediBid is the free market answer to rising healthcare costs. Employer-sponsored plans, as well as self-insured individuals, make up most of MediBid’s customers. On MediBid, a patient makes a procedure request which gets sent out to physicians and facilities around …
  • Medical Debt Still a Problem for Those With Health Insurance January 23, 2015
    by Adrienne Snavely Medical debt can affect anyone of any age in any state in any income bracket. Medical debts account for more than half of debt collections on credit reports. One in three Americans struggle to pay medical bills, …
  • Q&A with Direct Pay Physicians January 22, 2015
    Direct pay physicians answer colleagues’ questions about third-party-free medical practice. From January 9, 2015, New Orleans AAPS workshop.
  • Ralph Weber Talks MediCrats with FreedomWorks – Part 2 January 21, 2015
    The pitfalls of Obamacare are that it makes healthcare affordable to the employee, yet unaffordable to dependents. Some plans cover children, but not spouses. This means less options for families. The independent physicians are being bought out by hospitals and …
  • Cash and out-of-network: good for medicine as free agency is for sports January 21, 2015
    Andrew Schlafly, J.D., General Counsel, AAPS, opens the 21st Thrive, Not Just Survive workshop held Jan. 9, 2015 in New Orleans, LA.

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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