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  • Make Spring Cleaning a Workout April 17, 2015
    Chores you do around the house and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles if done correctly. Short episodes of mild exercise can improve your fitness level if done with intensity and speed. Adding 30 minutes of chores …
  • Provisioning for the Opt Out Journey April 17, 2015
    Ophthalmologist David Richardson, MD on how to prepare for opting out of Medicare. From AAPS 70th Annual Meeting, September 2013, Denver, Colorado.
  • What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity April 16, 2015
    The United States was once considered the land of opportunity where entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford, Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs contributed to a flourishing economy by providing new products and services at prices people were happy to pay.Today America’s …
  • Obamacare Fines Debut This Tax Season April 15, 2015
    Taxes for 2014 are due this week, and your tax bill could be affected by your health insurance. If you had insurance during the entire calendar year of 2014 through an employer, a state exchange, or Medicare Part A, you …
  • Blood Transfusions: Less is More April 13, 2015
    The most common inpatient medical procedure in 2011 was the blood transfusion, with 12% of all hospitalized patients receiving one. The accrediting nonprofit Joint Commission reports transfusions as one of the five most overused hospital procedures. Now, there is a …
  • Health “Coverage” is Just a Distraction April 10, 2015
    by G. Keith Smith, MD I think it is good to be alert to any discussions that are “downstream of a flawed premise.” Let me explain. When I hear, for instance, that the “flat tax” is preferable to the current income …
  • Text Neck – Your Phone is Causing You Pain April 8, 2015
    In the last few years, more and more young people have come in for chiropractic care with symptoms of neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or numbness and tingling in their arms. This condition has been named “text neck”. A study …
  • Fat-Burning Foods Help with Weight Loss April 3, 2015
    Many people include losing weight as one of their personal goals. The benefits of losing weight go beyond the outward appearance. Fat-burning foods can help you lose weight, reverse diabetes and risk of obesity, and boost energy levels. Certain foods …
  • Monitoring Patient Compliance with Mobile Devices April 1, 2015
    Company iGetBetter hopes that remote patient monitoring with phone apps and wearables will reduce hospital admissions and increase patient compliance after procedures. The platform allows patients to access post-op directions on a mobile device, ask questions, and send data directly …
  • Americans Can’t Afford to Use Insurance They Own March 30, 2015
    One in three Americans have delayed medical treatment for themselves or a family member because of cost. Many patients, 25% of the non-elderly, don’t have enough cash to cover a mid-range deductible of $1,200-$2,400. These patients need to shop around …
  • Third Party Free Medical Practice Case Studies March 28, 2015
    Dr. Kathy Brown, Jack Brown, and Dr. Keith Smith speak at the 69th Annual Meeting of AAPS, September 2013. http://www.oregonderm.com/ & http://surgerycenterok.com
  • A Tale of 2 Prices…or 3?‏ March 27, 2015
    by Ralph Weber About a year and a half ago, Perry Hunt needed a hip replacement. He had been in constant pain for years and owned a construction company, and could not afford to take the 6 months off that …
  • Tisha Casida interviews Ralph Weber: Free Market Solutions to Healthcare March 25, 2015
    Tisha Casida with Rebellion.life interviews CEO of MediBid, Ralph Weber, about his work educating the public and the government about common sense health care solutions. MediBid is an online marketplace with true transparency, listing not only prices, but qualities and …
  • Small Business Coverage Uncertain Future with Association Health Plans March 23, 2015
    For the last 20 years, small businesses in Washington state have relied heavily on associations and trusts to provide healthcare insurance for their workers at lower cost than in the open market. The system is popular and works well, a …
  • Outpatient Surgery Saves Patients Time and Money March 20, 2015
    The death of Joan Rivers after a routine procedure has some asking about the safety of outpatient surgical centers. First off, it is important to make sure to know if you are a good candidate for surgery and what to …
  • Study Finds Hormones Can Help Younger Women Through Menopause March 18, 2015
    Hormone replacement therapy used to only be given to women who had completed menopause, relieving hot flashes, sleeplessness, and other symptoms. In 2009, about 8 million women used HRT, most over the age of 60. A recent Cochrane review finds …
  • Retail Health Care Clinics Multiply with Increasing Demand March 16, 2015
    Integrated care facilities offer primary care, specialty services, labs, and diagnostics all under one roof. These clinics follow a model common in Latin America. This consumer-focused type of providing medical care is gaining in popularity and increasing in number since …
  • Avoiding Caregiver Burnout March 13, 2015
    Over 43.5 million Americans care for older parents, grandparents, spouses, or other loved ones. Most family caregivers are spouses or children. The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming and can take a toll on your health, relationships, and sanity – …
  • It is Safe to Assume They Lie March 11, 2015
    by G. Keith Smith, MD I laugh every time I see headlines bragging about the number of people enrolled in “Obamacare.”  What choice to people have, after all?  ”Buy this crappy insurance plan (that you wouldn’t buy unless you were …
  • FinalHayes1 March 11, 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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