Shopping without considering the cost

By Douglas Tardio, HealthCost Founding Partner

When you shop, how often do you buy without considering the cost? Likely never.

You can comparison shop in nearly every industry from travel to higher education and everything in between. Except, that is, for healthcare.

Consumers are being squeezed into narrow networks with little choice over physician or location. The number of uninsured people is increasing and the number of self-insured businesses is on the rise. Employers are struggling to manage costs in a system where there is no transparency and high-deductible plans are the norm. Finding actual pricing in advance is nearly impossible. There is no easy way to know what charges make up the service and how they affect the total amount you will need to pay if performed at different locations.

All of this has left millions of individuals and families across the nation facing tens of thousands of dollars per person in out-of-pocket costs – and yet they have been left with no tools to help them manage the financial burden. Individuals face decisions everyday with the worry of unknown medical debt weighing over them.

Online and mobile technologies have fueled the rise of comparison shopping tools and we think it’s time to utilize this technology in healthcare.

At HealthCost, we think it’s time for a change.

Through HealthCost.com, we’ve made it possible to show healthcare shoppers actual costs for services across the nation, with price breakouts for the facility and provider. We show actual costs per location, not regional averages. Specific location data is the only actionable data to help individuals make meaningful decisions about how – and where – they choose to manage their own care.

This means that people can now see that a procedure could cost thousands at one facility but just hundreds at another two blocks away. For example, a diagnostic colonoscopy in one city could range from $1,200 to over $8,000. And a range this wide may be from the same physician when performed at an ambulatory surgery center versus a hospital - same procedure, same doctor, but a difference of over $6,000 simply because of the location!

It’s time to allow consumers to see the actual costs of their healthcare in advance.

We encourage you to try it out today. So far, we’ve uploaded data for over 550,000 healthcare providers across the nation and more than 800 of the most common episodes of care. Each month we’ll be adding more data on additional episodes of care, so try a search out today and keep coming back in the future to comparison shop in advance of receiving the care you need.

 

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