Three things matter in health care: price, quality, and facilities. Price is the easiest to find out.
If the free market could work in health care, you would upload your x-rays and other information to a secure site. Doctors could then submit bids on the procedures. Then you can check the credentials of the surgeons. Form a relationship with your selected physician before any transaction is made. This online marketplace for joint replacements, diagnostic tests, and other common surgical procedures can be found at MediBid.
MediBid has grown in the past four years into a thriving online market for health care. Last year, they received 3,500 patient requests, with 12,000 bids made on those requests. The average knee replacement on MediBid costs about $15,000, while most U.S. hospitals bill $60,000. Canadians, American individuals, and employers all end up paying half as much as they could be charged, even with insurance.
Medical tourism has three requirements: be willing to travel, pay up front, and there is no insurance company interference before or after the procedure is complete. MediBid patients save 70% on MRI scans, 63% on CT scans, 53% on colonoscopies, and 35% on ultrasounds.
MediBid currently has 265,000 paid individuals who use MediBid to shop for medical care, including 83 employer groups. Employers using MediBid save between 40% and 65%. As hospitals lose more patients to other cities and facilities, perhaps they will compete on price themselves.
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Goodman, John C. “Can The Market Really Work In Health Care?” Opinion. Forbes, 22 May 2018. Web. 23 May 2018.