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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 …

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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