ISLE OF PALMS, S.C., May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthCost.com and the HealthCost app have made shopping and comparing the prices of healthcare procedures (from arthroscopies to wound care) and office visits (from allergists to vascular surgeons) as easy as shopping online for an airline ticket. Now, the open-market network has added imaging procedures to its expansive list of searchable data. With 34 imaging categories, which include more than 300 procedures such as breast imaging, cardiac ultrasounds and MRIs now available, HealthCost is turning patients into consumers by allowing them to comparison shop in advance. While there are other search tools available to consumers today, HealthCost.com is the only network offering exact pricing so patients can compare per doctor, per facility and make an informed decision on the care they would like to receive. Other search tools simply offer average costs on a local or regional basis.
"The average consumer has no idea what healthcare procedures cost. Why would they? There is no transparency. No disclosures in advance on the cost of anything – a procedure, an office visit, you name it," said William A. Moore, a HealthCost founding partner. "Even Americans who are covered under insurance face incredibly high out-of-pocket deductibles. And what about the 23 million uninsured or the millions who need to visit an out-of-network provider? Previously, there was no way for them to shop, compare and understand what they were paying before they received a scary medical bill. We're changing all of this by giving exact pricing information to the average consumer in advance. This is the first time this has been done, and it's about time."
What can patients search for?
With the addition of imaging services, HealthCost now shares the exact costs nationwide for:
- 64 episodes of care categories, including nearly 850 specific procedures
- 47 categories of specialty providers
- 34 imaging categories, including more than 300 procedures
The launch of imaging data includes private imaging facilities but will soon integrate outpatient hospital imaging costs as well. "Consumers aren't the only ones to benefit, says Russell Amico, M.D., a HealthCost founding partner. "The addition of imaging procedure costs will also give providers who register with the HealthCost NetworkSM an advantage. These providers will be able to reach millions of consumers who are paying out of pocket and interested in understanding costs up front."
"Imaging has become one type of procedure that's commoditized," said Amico. "There might be a free-standing facility across the street from a hospital offering the same services, but one might be three times the cost of the other. HealthCost offers a solution for consumers to understand this in advance. For providers, HealthCost offers the ability to set their own network rates, then explain any cost disparity in terms of specific equipment they use or their individual expertise. We want to strengthen healthcare's ability to operate in the free market. Clear and explicit communication from our healthcare providers should be the first step."
A benefit to patients and providers
HealthCost offers benefits for both the patient and the provider. Consumers benefit from the ability to search for, compare and choose the physician and location they prefer. Providers now have the ability to reach patients they could never reach before — those who pay out of pocket — no matter how, or if, they are insured. Access to the HealthCost.com network is open to all, allowing any consumer to shop and compare healthcare costs and any provider to register, control their own pricing and reach new patients.
Where does HealthCost get its pricing data?
HealthCost quality and pricing information is sourced from publicly available information that originates directly from the government, specifically from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the entity that sets reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals. While this data is available to the general public, it is healthcare big data, which is not easily accessible or understood. HealthCost has tackled the big data challenge and solved it with a user-friendly, free-market solution, available to anyone with Internet access or a smartphone.
HealthCost is the only network offering an open marketplace, through https://www.HealthCost.com, for setting, comparing and locking in healthcare costs. Like other transparent, open markets, consumers and providers (as buyers and sellers) now mutually drive costs and demand. HealthCost providers have the freedom to set their own HealthCost network rates and reach new consumers, no matter how, or if, they are insured. HealthCost consumers have the freedom to comparison shop and lock in rates with any provider they choose.
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