Secret pricing, this terms sounds like a line from the popular movies “Wall Street” or “The Boiler Room” but it is a common practice in the area of our lives that we expect honesty and ethical business practices most….Our health care providers, doctors and hospital systems.

As much as $3.2 billion a year in medical care is ‘secretly priced’, which means providers do their best to keep these prices unpublished or unknown.  One of the main reasons this has become common practice is that insured patients don’t always pay attention to the cost of a procedure because their insurance company is paying the largest chunk of the charges.

With the rise in popularity of high deductible health plans, usually paired with a health savings account, patients need to start approaching their health care as a consumer rather than a patient.  In a time when technology helps consumers make decisions on which refrigerator to purchase the American public needs to rely on technology to help make the best decisions for health care.

Speaking with the Vice President of BenEx, Susan McGinnis, she compares the patient mindset and relationship between doctor and patient as “herding cattle”.  This is a subject that Susan is very passionate about, “When a doctor refers the patient to get a MRI done at a certain place, the patient just goes where their doctor tells them.”  She goes on to say, “Get on the phone and shop around.  There can be big differences in charges from one facility to the next.”

That’s where companies like Medefy are working to establish transparency in the healthcare market.  In a presentation with the founders, Matt Scovil and Nathan Gilchrist, they showed a difference of almost $800 between two different facilities for the same test.

The best way for the public to start fighting this secret pricing is to be informed and aware.  Ask your doctor how much a procedure is going to cost.  It’s a simple question but you will be surprised at how uncomfortable they can get when they don’t know the answer or don’t want you to know the answer.

Don’t be a patient with a victim mentality, be a consumer that does their homework to get the best and most reasonably priced care available.

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