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  • Ralph Weber Talks About Healthcare Pricing – Video August 29, 2014
    Physicians used to take any type of payment for their services, be it in cash or trade (goods). The doctor would give you a price up front. Why can’t you get prices now? Insurance companies hide the real prices so …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode01 FINAL August 29, 2014
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Safe & Quality Medical Care August 27, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) arrived on the scene in 1970. Physicians continue to own nearly 90% of such facilities. Physicians can conveniently schedule procedures, assemble their own teams of highly skilled staff, check over the equipment and …
  • Ralph Weber Talks About Transparency – Video August 25, 2014
    Prices for medical care can vary across town, across the state, and across the country. There may be no difference in a surgical technique or the training of the physician, yet the price can differ up to 20 times as …
  • Here’s The Thing #1: Transparency August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #2: Healthcare Pricing August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #3: Procedure Cost August 25, 2014
  • Save Yourself from Your Desk Job – Part II August 22, 2014
    By Sue Redmond Studies have now shown that the “couch potato” lifestyle, and even a desk job where you are sitting for long periods of time, can heighten your risk of certain diseases and even age you faster. Joan Vernikos …
  • Want to Get Lean and Fit? Don’t Do Cardio August 20, 2014
    Want to Get Lean and Fit? Then Don’t Do Traditional “Cardio” Exercise by Lee Kurisko, MD For many, this is heresy but I believe that it is true. Have you ever noticed the people frequenting the ellipticals and treadmills at …
  • The Ebola Virus: Global Threat or False Alarm? August 18, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, in what is now Congo. All 25 outbreaks of human illness or death have occurred thus far in Africa. In rural areas, people live close to …
  • Save Yourself From Your Desk Job! August 15, 2014
    by Sue Redmond Everyone knows that the couch potato “lifestyle” is unhealthy. You come home from a hard day at work and park yourself in front of the TV. Recent studies have found your desk job may be just as …
  • Thyroid Health & Testing August 13, 2014
    Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disorders. Thyroid disorders that can affect women include: Hyperthyroidism Hypothyroidism Thyroid nodules Thyroiditis Thyroid cancer Goiter The most common disorders are hyper- and hypo-thyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroid Weight loss, even if …
  • Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2014 August 12, 2014
    Canadian families spend more money on taxes than on food, clothing, and shelter combined.The Fraser Institute’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index tracks the total tax bill of the average Canadian family from 1961 to 2013 by adding up the various taxes …
  • Keys to Exercise Success August 11, 2014
    by Lee Kurisko, MD I have had exercise as a regular habit for 41 years. Through all of that time, I have been analyzing what I do and trying to refine my approach always in search of a better way. …
  • MediBid in Kaiser Health News & Washington Post August 8, 2014
    Patients Seeking Cheaper Care Are Soliciting Bids From Doctors Online By SANDRA G. BOODMAN  AUG 05, 2014  This KHN story also ran in . It can be republished for free. (details) Francisco Velazco couldn’t wait any longer. For several years, the …
  • Are We Heading Towards a Two Tiered Health Care System? August 6, 2014
    In 2013, 117 insurance plans were offered on average in each state. Only 41 plans are offered in the exchanges, and in 16 states, consumers have access to 3 or fewer insurers.  In addition, these plans have increasingly restricted networks… …
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 2 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 1 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • Life Without Antibiotics Would Likely Be Grim August 4, 2014
    The first antibiotics came on the market after World War II. Bacteria continue to mutate so antibiotics cannot destroy them. Some have become so resistant that nothing is effective on them. A treatment that may have worked five years ago …
  • An Introduction to Fibroids August 1, 2014
    By Dayton Interventional Radiology What are Fibroids? Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the walls of the uterus. They can occur in bunches or alone, and can be very tiny or grow to the size of a cantaloupe. An …

Shopping around for surgery

At MediBid, we feel that the solution is really straight forward. The third party payer model has more medical bureaucrats (MediCrats), than it does medical professionals. Furthermore, it is based on a model with hides and increases the real costs. In order to bring down costs, transparency and access is required, and that’s what we do at MediBid. In order to get actual pricing, all you need to do is click HERE to create a request.

http://www.economist.com/node/21546059

Shopping around for surgery

Companies try to make health-care costs transparent

AMERICANS spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, a staggering 18% of GDP. Yet few of them have the faintest idea what any treatment costs or how it compares with any other treatment. Prices vary wildly and seemingly without reason (see chart). Insurance terms require a dictionary. For most Americans, buying a procedure is akin to choosing a house blindfolded, signing a mortgage in Aramaic, then discovering the price later. Slowly, however, this is changing.

The past decade has seen a shift in how people pay for medicine. Americans’ health spending is growing at a slower pace. This is partly because of the downturn, but not entirely. The rate of growth fell every year between 2002 and 2009, note David Knott and Rodney Zemmel of McKinsey & Company, a consultancy. There are many reasons for this—for example, many costly drugs have lost their patents. But spending habits also seem to be changing.

Most American workers receive health insurance through their employers. They typically shoulder the costs without realising it. The more a company spends on health insurance, the less is left over to pay wages. Now employers are trying to give staff an incentive to think hard about costs.

Under “consumer-driven health plans”, workers must cough up part of the price of any treatment before their insurance coverage kicks in. Most have an untaxed account to spend on health; they think twice before depleting it. In 2006 only 10% of workers had to pay at least $1,000 before their insurer picked up the rest of the bill. By 2010 that share had more than tripled.

General Electric (GE) shifted its salaried employees into consumer-driven plans in 2010. It urged them to shop around for bargains, but they found this nearly impossible due to a lack of information. “People started saying: ‘If you want me to be an active consumer, I need to know prices,’” explains Virginia Proestakes, the head of GE’s benefits programme. When employees asked doctors for prices, the doctors were baffled. They had no clue how much different insurers paid for the same procedure, or what share a patient would pay. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a public watchdog, reported similar problems.

Barack Obama’s health reform requires hospitals to list standard prices each year, and more than 30 states have either proposed or passed laws to promote price transparency, according to the GAO. None of these measures has come close to solving the problem. Few provide enough data to allow people to shop around.

So private firms are having a go. GE, for example, hired Thomson Reuters, an information firm, to show employees the cost of different services. Thomson Reuters analyses prices from prior purchases—by workers at GE and other firms—to show the cost of a given procedure at different hospitals and clinics.

Another company, Castlight Health of California, has made transparency its sole mission. Working with big firms, Castlight assembles data from past transactions so that employees can shop for doctors online and read reviews posted by patients. Castlight wants to do for health what Travelocity did for air travel, explains Giovanni Colella, the founder. Mr Colella’s co-founder is now the chief technology officer for Mr Obama’s health department.

These plans face several obstacles. Health care is more complicated than flying. A traveller knows she wants to get from A to B, and that more or less any airline will get her there in one piece. So it is easy to rank air tickets by price. By contrast, someone with a heart problem may be unsure whether to pop pills, operate, change his diet or do nothing. Informed medical decisions require a tonne of information.

To make matters worse, health insurers are reluctant to share data about costs, says Bobbi Coluni, who leads Thomson Reuters’s consumer-health unit. If an insurer has a contract to pay one hospital $7,000 for a caesarean and a contract to pay another hospital $10,000 for the same service, and this information leaks, the first hospital will lobby for a higher price. GE’s contracts with insurers stipulate that GE owns the data from workers’ past health purchases. But such agreements are rare.

Despite this, greater transparency seems inevitable. Smart insurers are hawking their own tools. Cigna uses Thomson Reuters’s technology to support its “cost of care estimator”. Aetna, another insurer, offers a sophisticated web tool that patients use more than 67,000 times a month. Meg McCabe of Aetna hopes that consumers will soon be able to use their smartphones to enter symptoms, find doctors, compare prices and schedule an appointment.

Such experiments will serve insurers well. If Mr Obama’s health law stands, millions will soon shop for insurance on new exchanges. The easier the plan is to understand, the more people may pick it. A fully transparent market is years away. But a bit of sunlight is creeping in.



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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