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  • 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.
  • Opting Out of Medicare January 20, 2015
    Lawrence Huntoon, MD, PhD, presents via Skype at the AAPS 21st Thrive Not Just Survive Workshop on Third Party Free Practice, January 9, 2015

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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