Ever wonder about the true cost of knee surgery or an MRI? It used to be patients had to blindly accept what hospitals and medical institutions charge for specific procedures or surgeries, but thanks to a handful of Web sites that are listing prices for all sorts of procedures, consumers have the ability to shop around to find the best price for care. Here’s a look at five medical pricing Web sites that give consumers medical bargaining power.
It’s no secret the cost of health care is steadily rising, which makes it even more vital for consumers to know the cost of care before treatment. Consumers can use this free site to find prices on a slew of medical procedures in their area by searching for price comparisons by zip code.
This nonprofit Web site is designed to connect patients seeking care with doctors. At the free site, patients can search more than 7,000 medical procedures and get the average price in specific areas. The site also provides contact information and locations of more than 2.5 million doctors, hospitals, medical facilities, labs and pharmacies. Users can post reviews of doctors and medical facilities and registered users are able to review their previous search history and list of providers using the site’s ‘My Dashboard’ feature.
Just like the other pricing sites, OutofPocket.com lets consumers search the prices of medical procedures, but it takes the process a step further by letting consumers post the prices they paid for medical services. According to the company, the more consumers know about the prices of medical services and procedures the more they can get for their money. OutofPocket.com culls pricing information from multiple sources including consumer postings, provider price lists, Medicare payments data and public Web sites. Consumers that want to add their own pricing information have to register with the Web site.
This online marketplace allows consumers searching for procedures to compare and negotiate prices. The site lists pricing for a wide variety of procedures including teeth cleanings, preventative medical procedures like mammograms as well as vision, cosmetic and weight-loss procedures. The Web site lets consumer search for providers in their area and schedule appointments.
It also has the 'Make an Offer' and 'Name Your Price' features that enables consumers to negotiate with health-care providers for the cost of medical services. One testimonial from a user claims he or she was able to save more than 50% on the cost of a procedure.
This site lets you search for pricing on medical procedures, but the real power lies in its free personal medical organizer. With its secure Web-based organizer, consumers can store their medical history, prescriptions and bills for free. Doclopedia.com will even organize the data into a manner that doctors use to review patient history, making it easier for patients visiting new doctors or getting a second opinion.
For consumers paying for their own health care, facing a high deductible or in need of care that their insurance doesn’t fully cover, it pays to shop around. Here are five Web sites that help users find fair prices for surgery, hospital stays, medical tests and much more.