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  • Thousands of Taxpayers Overpay Obamacare Tax Penalty July 27, 2015
    Over 300,000 Americans overpaid the IRS after indicating they did not have Obamacare-compatible health insurance. People who have household income below the threshold for the penalty are exempt from the individual mandate and should be refunded the amount, averaging $110, …
  • Eating Nuts Helps Your Heart July 24, 2015
    Nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids, which lower LDL cholesterol levels. Nuts also reduce the risk of developing fatal blood clots and improve the lining of your arteries. The type of nut isn’t that important, as most nuts are full of …
  • “Medjacking” is Real Possible Threat July 22, 2015
    Dr. David Armstrong, a podiatric surgeon and professor in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, has joined forces with government security agencies to keep patients safe from medjacking. He is part of a cybersecurity committee for diabetes devices, which …
  • Ways to Handle Stress July 20, 2015
    Stress can be caused by many different situations, such as too much work, long lines, or heavy traffic. There are a few simple techniques to help you de-stress and unwind. 1. Positive Self-Talk We talk to ourselves both out loud …
  • A Remedy for Healthcare July 17, 2015
    This video is from a series called “Love Gov”, which personifies the government as an overprotective, possessive boyfriend who thinks he knows best for his dear Alexis. When it comes to healthcare, Gov thinks he needs to be involved in …
  • MediBid: A Free Market Fix – Interview with Ralph Weber at FreedomFest July 15, 2015
    Joe Thomas of WCHV, Charlottesville, VA interviews MediBid CEO Ralph Weber from FreedomFest in Las Vegas, NV July 2015. MediBid has doctors, surgery centers, and hospitals in ten countries. Most patients who use MediBid have employer-based and self-funded health insurance …
  • The American Heroin Epidemic July 13, 2015
    Heroin use in America traces back to the mid-1800s and is becoming more popular among people with historically low drug abuse. Prior addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is the strongest risk factor, making people 40 times more likely to start …
  • The Widowmaker: A Documentary Film July 10, 2015
    Award-winning documentary, The Widowmaker, has just been released on Netflix. It is the result of an Irish patient who discovered how the results of a heart scan saved his life and wondered why the test was not widely available. Cardiologists …
  • Brace Yourself: Large Health Insurance Premium Increases Coming 2016 July 8, 2015
    Health insurance companies want to increase their rates in the amount of 20-40% or more, since new Obamacare customers are sicker than expected. Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans hikes across the country of 23-54%. The insurance companies say that the increased …
  • Crowd-funding Helps with Medical Bills July 6, 2015
    Crowd-funding is growing as people work together to support projects such as charities, movie production, and now, paying medical bills. Indiegogo has seen an increase in personal fundraising for medical costs, so they started Indiegogo Life for personal purposes. Other …
  • A Healthy Body for Everybody – July Lab Specials July 3, 2015
    This is a great way to be proactive and keep up with your health as well as that of your loved ones. Women’s Health Check  $109 (Regular Price $179, Retail $823) This valuable package of laboratory tests is structured with …
  • Colonoscopies: Don’t Flush Your Money Down the Drain July 1, 2015
    Preventative medical procedures, such as colonoscopy, are now required to be covered by Obamacare health insurance plans, as well as the anesthesia it requires. What may be more uncomfortable than the procedure itself is the price of the bowel prep …
  • Taking Control of Your Medical Records June 29, 2015
    Leaving your health records solely in the hands of doctors and hospitals is a big mistake. This gives them too much power over your information and increases possibility for errors. When you are in control of your own records, you …
  • High Deductible Plans are Changing Patient Interaction June 26, 2015
    High deductible plans are changing where patients get medical care and how they pay for it. Once a bill exceeds 5% of household income, patients most likely cannot pay for it themselves. Major employers offer high deductible plans (an average …
  • Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure June 24, 2015
    A small study in London showed that drinking a cup of beetroot juice significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive patients within six hours. After 24 hours, their blood pressure remained lower than those in the control group. The benefits come …
  • Supreme Court Decision on Healthcare Subsidies to Come This Week June 22, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD The Big Lie of ObamaCare is in the title: the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials invoke “affordable” over and over again. The U.S. Supreme Court could well blow the Democrats’ cover in King v. Burwell if …
  • Shopping While Hungry Leads to Poor Eating All Week June 19, 2015
    A study at Cornell University examined the food selections that a group of shoppers put in their virtual online grocery cart. The shoppers that had not eaten four or five hours beforehand selected 23% more processed junk food than those …
  • Long ER Waits Continue in Canada as Budget Cuts Increase June 17, 2015
    Lee Parker of Ottawa had to wait 48 hours in the Emergency Room before being admitted for heart attack complications. He watched other patients come in, but since there was no room for them, they lay on gurneys in the …
  • Health Benefits of Cucumbers June 15, 2015
    There are hundreds of varieties of cucumber and dozens of colors. Cucumbers are a fruit, not a vegetable, as most people think. They are a good source of phytonutrients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. The peel and seeds are …
  • Should a Business Offer Healthcare Benefits? June 12, 2015
    Offering healthcare benefits is optional for small businesses, but is important to an employee as one of the most popular benefits in a compensation package. An employer who wishes to stay competitive with other businesses in the community will most …

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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