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Affordable Healthcare is Possible with MediBid

It may seem like affordable healthcare is as unattainable as it’s ever been, with the average cost of healthcare benefits spending at about $15,000 per employee. That’s according to the National Business Group on Health, and NBGH expects that number to continue skyrocketing year after year. It’s time for employers to act if affordable healthcare is their goal, and there are viable alternatives available. Of them is MediBid, which can reduce healthcare costs by up to 65 percent.

There’s no gimmick or catch involved, as MediBid leverages several cost containment methods to deliver game-changing savings to its clients. In a healthcare market that’s out of control, cutting spending by nearly two-thirds seems like a bold claim, but MediBid has already proven it is possible. Many employers are already reducing their costs to this degree, and your company could be next.

Seven Ways MediBid Contains Costs

The U.S. healthcare market is complicated, so there’s no one simple way to get a good, or even fair, deal when shopping for healthcare. It takes a multipronged strategy, like the one that MediBid has developed. We’ve created and delivered leading-edge healthcare plans for years – plans that save employers money while providing group members with the flexibility and value they look for in a benefits package.

MediBid manages this by adopting several cost containment principles. They include:
  1. A competitive healthcare market
  2. Cost and quality transparency
  3. Reference-based pricing
  4. Bundled pricing
  5. Direct contracting with providers
  6. Advanced healthcare shopping tools
  7. Second opinions

Each of these points are worth addressing on their own, but together they can provide incomparable savings.

A Competitive Healthcare Market

Ask any consumer what the most frustrating and confusing thing is about the healthcare market, and they’ll likely remark how difficult it is to get a price for anything. Even medical facilities have trouble keeping their prices in order, and they change without warning. Worse, the price may not even be communicated until service is rendered. This makes it impossible for patients and their employers, by extension, to forecast healthcare expenses and make a cost-effective decision.

MediBid has done away with this by establishing an online, competitive marketplace for patients and healthcare professionals. Thousands of providers from around the world are already on MediBid, and the market is growing all the time. MediBid also recruits providers and prioritizes them depending on where our users are looking, so if you’re living in an area where there are few MediBid-member providers, it won’t be long until there are plenty to choose from.

With a robust competitive marketplace, providers are working against each other to provide maximum value to their patients and their employers. That means reduced costs with no drop in quality. Group members submit a request for care on MediBid’s online marketplace and providers bid on the request. Instead of the patient spending hours on the phone trying to line up an appointment, providers approach the patient first. That’s not only cost effective – it’s convenient.

Transparency in Cost and Quality

A competitive marketplace is only possible if consumers can make an informed decision regarding who their provider will be. MediBid knows this, which is why we require providers to submit a single, bundled price when bidding on a patient’s request. Group members know exactly what the price of service will be before they even leave their home. In almost all cases, the patient will have multiple competitive bids to choose from, and they only have to consider the important details – cost, quality and location. That leads to a simple, consumer-driven decision.

In addition to price transparency, MediBid also presents information on quality with all of its providers. This includes the provider’s background, their education, their training, the status of their medical license and their outcome history. Former patients can also leave reviews on provider profiles, so there is a powerful incentive for providers to protect their reputation with quality service.

MediBid’s providers know that our users are more apt to behave like consumers. As such, they know that they must submit a fair bid at the minimum, or they’ll never draw patients. This is the power of the competitive market when consumers are given the information they need. The most efficient and talented providers succeed, and consumers (and their employers) get a great deal.

Referenced-based Pricing

Reference-based pricing (RBP) plans are gaining traction among employers, as they offer a clear path to cost containment. With an RBP plan, the employer determines the plan’s allowable charges instead of an insurance company. In most cases, an RBP plan uses Medicare’s pricing as a reference point and adds on a percentage to make it fair for providers. Medicare’s reimbursement rates are extremely low for many providers, and it’s common for providers to lose money every time a Medicare patient walks into their practice. Reimbursement rates on an RBP plan, though, are high enough that providers can make a consistent profit by reducing their overhead.

Employers appreciate RBP plans because they allow the employer to establish what they will pay and because group members have freedom in seeing the provider they wish.

The one weak spot with RBP plans is that they are susceptible to balance billing. Though uncommon, balance billing is difficult for group members to tolerate, and when it does happen, the amount of stress it brings may leave employers questioning if it’s worth it.

MediBid has solved the balance billing issue, though, with a marketplace that prioritizes transparency. Balance billing occurs when a plan’s allowable isn’t sufficient to cover everything, but with MediBid’s focus on transparency, group members know whether their plan will be enough for everything. There are no surprises, in other words, and no balance billing blindsiding patients.

Bundled Pricing

Patients and employers want bundled pricing. Virtually everyone wants bundled pricing. It doesn’t guarantee a good price, though.

Bundled pricing refers to combining the cost of the physician, the facility and the anesthesiologist. This simplifies everything and gets rid of the extra fees that always seem to sneak their way on to the bill. The problem with bundled pricing, though, is that not everyone can contact a provider, a facility and an anesthesiologist and come up with their own bundled price. Often, there are unexpected line items that sneak onto the bill. If patients contact an expensive physician, an expensive facility and an expensive anesthesiologist, though, they’ll end up with an expensive bundled price. Easier to understand, yes, but not easier to afford.

MediBid, again with price and quality transparency, has enhanced bundled pricing. Every bid on MediBid is bundled – it’s required in our terms – so there’s no mystery about the price. MediBid’s users know exactly when they are getting a fair bundled price or an expensive one. It’s the simplicity and efficiency of bundled pricing with the cost containment of MediBid’s competitive market.

Direct Contracting with Providers

Direct contracting is another emerging alternative to traditional health insurance and it’s another one of MediBid’s features. Direct contracting allows employers to essentially build out their own network, negotiating with providers directly to bring costs down in exchange for patient traffic.

On MediBid, users directly contract with providers every time care is needed. The insurance company isn’t involved, so providers handle their patients the way they want. This usually means good things for patients, because physicians are required by insurance companies to keep electronic notes during every appointment. That means less time listening to the patient’s concerns, and MediBid’s providers are not required to stare into a computer when they should be having a face to face conversation with the patient.

MediBid’s per-episode approach to direct contracting means the network has already been built out for employers and third-party administrators. No time-consuming negotiation is necessary, and MediBid’s cost containing marketplace renders it unnecessary.

Advanced Healthcare Shopping Tools

MediBid has had so much success in saving employer’s money that our site has an expected healthcare cost calculator available to anyone, member or not. MediBid’s calculator displays the average bid on MediBid for certain procedures and compares them to other healthcare shopping tools, like the Healthcare Bluebook, which roughly represents what various payers (mostly insurance companies) reimburse providers. What people find is that by embracing market forces, MediBid is usually able to get you bids on procedures, which usually beat other shopping tools.

What’s also relevant is the timing. The Healthcare Bluebook collates data by region and offers valuable information in this regard. It’s difficult, though, for any single shopping tool to provide pricing information that is relevant in the moment. MediBid’s calculator can manage this, however, because the data derived from the site’s own user data. It’s constantly updated, so the data is relevant and reflective of what new users will find once they submit a bid.

Second Opinions

In the overwhelming majority of cases, MediBid’s users are able to get a second opinion immediately. Second opinions are valuable, as the Mayo Clinic confirms. According to patient data the Mayo Clinic studied, patients get a different or refined diagnosis 88 percent of the time when seeking a second opinion. Two opinions are more accurate than one, and MediBid ensures patients have access to them.

Affordable Healthcare is Here

It may be years before affordable healthcare is available through the larger healthcare market, but MediBid ensures employers don’t have to wait that long. With cost and quality transparency, a competitive healthcare market, reference-based pricing, bundled pricing, direct contracting and superior healthcare shopping tools, MediBid has made affordability an attainable goal.