Do you need to have a medical procedure done? Have you shopped around to compare prices?
Research shows that most Americans accept medical costs at face value, and assume that the price of these services is rather inflexible. A survey completed by HealthMine, an American wellness company, looked at the habits of 569 people enrolled in wellness programs and found that up to three-quarters of Americans (!) don’t seem to shop around and compare prices when seeking to purchase medical services.
Maybe it’s because patients are in a bind and just want to ‘get things done’. But did you know that prices aren’t standard?
That’s right. The sales tag attached to such things as MRIs, CAT scans and other procedures and services is far from consistent across the country. Prices can vary quite a lot from hospital to hospital. Without knowing it, as prices often aren’t readily published for consumers to review, you could be losing out by paying considerably more in one location for the exact same service available for a lower cost at another.
Well, the service must be of lesser quality, then, you might conclude. Fact has it: the quality of the service being offered is exactly the same, most of the time.
So, what to do? The old saying, “it pays to do your homework,” still holds out.
Nowadays, there are some great tools available at online to help you save money and pay an appropriate price for your care. One of these tools is Vitals SmartShopper.
What is SmartShopper? As it says on the company’s website, SmartShopper is “A program for health plans and employer groups that results in savings for all.”
Featured on NPR’s Planet Money, Vitals SmartShopper allows you to get the best available price for a medical service or procedure in your area. Vitals has created a giant map of the U.S health care system for consumers, and a suite of software services for health plans to accompany it.
As a member of SmartShopper, when your doctor recommends a procedure or test, you can go online or call to quickly and easily shop inpatient and outpatient health care services in your area. This can potentially allow you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by choosing a lower-cost health care provider.
Sound amazing? SmartShopper even goes one step further. The company claims that participants who choose the lower health care costs earn cash rewards.
Even without the cash rewards, the system sounds like a winner, and one that may contribute to lowering health care costs overall in the U.S, with the use of enough members, overtime.
Wish to find out more?
Currently the SmartShopper program is available to employers and insurance carriers in the following states: NH, MA, CT, IN, KY.
Help regulate the market for health care costs in the U.S.A, and get your money’s worth at the same time!
To learn more about qualifying for the SmartShopper program, please contact your employer, health plan, or broker for more information.
Click here to learn more.