Compare Prices for Major Procedures Using the Medicare Price Tool
Back in November, Medicare released an incredible ally for individuals wanting to comparison shop for major and minor medical procedures: a proprietary price tool that compares surgery costs across all hospitals in any given state, or across America.
With shareholders to protect and a profit to be made, hospitals are notorious for hiding their prices. This tool puts more power in your hands by helping you know the price of the procedure beforehand.
Why Transparency is Important in Medical Care
Imagine having your house re-roofed, paying for it, but not knowing what the work costs until your credit card statement came 30 days later. You were never given an opportunity to comparison shop; workers showed up and fixed what they believed was wrong with your home.
That concept carries over to health care.
Hospitals and private practices typically charge services directly to insurance companies, meaning the only fees you typically see are the out-of-pocket expenses like copays or medication costs. By lifting the veil on surgical prices, this tool will allow you to see how much the hospital is actually charging.
Patients who decide to price shop may actually encourage medical care competition. The more people are able to shop around for non-emergency medical care, the more pressure there will be on hospitals to lower their prices to compete for clients. You, the patient, deserve to know what you’re being charged for and if those prices reflect fair and competitive prices.
How to Negotiate Your Medical Bills After the Fact
Hospital pricing tools can be a great way to compare prices among different hospitals and providers before you go in for scheduled surgery. But if you’ve already had the medical treatment and you have a deductible you haven’t covered, you may still have some large out-of-pocket expenses.
In that case, you should take advantage of the Medical Bill Negotiation services we provide as part of your member benefits.
Major companies, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and third-party services, are proactive in negotiating prices to better suit their ideal cost. If you have a high deductible or other out-of-pocket costs, having a professional working to negotiate a better price could save you thousands on medical bills long-term.
It is not uncommon for the negotiators to shave as much as 50% off your final bill. I have used this service myself to reduce medical bills, and many of our clients have reduced their bills with this program.
The company we contract this service to charges a small percentage of the savings if they successfully negotiate your bill, but they charge nothing if they cannot find you savings.
You deserve to pay for services at the lowest possible rate, so make sure to take advantage of this free benefit.
Don’t Pay More than You Need to
With the availability of this price tool and Bill Negotiation Service, you should find it easier to shine a light on hidden prices and avoid overpriced medical bills.
If you need any assistance with this or any of the other services we offer, please reach out to your personal benefits manager, or call us at 1800-913-3416.
To your health and wealth,
Wiley P. Long, III
President – MediGap Advisors