by Adrienne Snavely
Ralph Weber got the idea to start MediBid when his family member was put on waiting lists for care in Canada. Moving to the US and willing to pay cash to get the procedure done, he discovered that by shopping around, you can really save money. He wanted to help others who were also in need of medical care but had monetary restraints or limits on insurance. Thus, MediBid was started as a place for the uninsured, underinsured, high deductible plans, or out-of-network insurance. Over the last several years, MediBid has incorporated employer group plans into their client base.
When a patient places a procedure request, physicians and facilities (bidders) enter their pricing (bids), be it by Autobid programmed into the system or manual bid after reviewing the request. Many patients are surprised that they will receive much lower costs than expected. Higher cost can be linked to doctors with less experience with a procedure, so the highest bid is not always the best quality. Most MediBid providers do have their quality ratings added to their profiles, which patients can review before selecting a bid.
The benefit to doctors is that they receive prompt payment because they deal with the patient directly. There is no need to hassle with middlemen insurance companies. How payment works depends on the carrier partner for the employer group. Patients find travelling to receive a procedure or test as a very doable option. Most patients will select a travel radius of up to 500 miles. Saving a large sum of money is a good motivation to travel for care. The patients are engaged in the medical process, having a say in how they want to spend their own money. Incentives such as cost-sharing groups and plan copays encourage cost-effective choices.
The most requested procedures on MediBid include colonoscopy, imaging, hernia repair, and knee replacement. A simple consultation may avert unnecessary surgery or find an alternate or less invasive treatment. All patients have access to their own requests and can make changes, upload images, or close the request at any time. The free market does work in medical care – a unicorn that does exist.
Steve Blumenfield. “Episode 21: Putting health care in employees’ hands (MediBid)”. Cure for the Common Co. Willis Towers Watson, 4 Mar 2021. Web. 7 Mar 2021.