Individuals and families can make better decisions about their health care spending if they compare re prices for routine health care services.
A new website, www.outofpocket.com allows this to happen for a number of the most performed services.
The price comparisons are based on prices submited from actual patient visits.
Prices in the www.OutofPocket.com directory are collected from several sources including:
- Consumer Generated Content: Consumers anonymously post prices they paid for routine health care services, (including MRIs, mammograms, X-rays, lab tests, vaccinations, dental, vision and office visits), along with their personal recommendations on the provider
- Providers that Disclose Pricing: Providers are invited to submit true prices for their services for inclusion in the OutofPocket.com directory
- Government CMS: Medicare payment data for common medical procedures has been loaded in the OutofPocket.com directory.
This project was inspired by the lack of price transparency for cost-conscious consumers that want to find the best value and make the most out of their health care dollars.
"Our vision is to expose health care pricing using social networking," said Mona Lori, Principal, OutOfPocket.com, "Health care is the only industry that sells services to consumers without openly disclosing prices. Every consumer should have easy access to true health care pricing - before they enter a doctor's office."
Health care prices continue to rise each year. Americans are spending $1.9 trillion a year on health care, and by 2016, health care spending is expected to reach $4.1 trillion.
Consumers are paying more of their own health care costs in the form of higher premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses for health care services.
Many employers, in an effort to keep costs down, are offering their employees higher-deductible and lower premium health insurance plans.
"Our experience implementing computer systems for hospitals, clinical laboratories and physician offices showed us that the health care market is extremely inefficient." said Patrick Frisbie, CTO, OutOfPocket.com.
"We concluded that there must be a better way to do this. By enabling consumers to collaborate, we hope to enable a consumer-driven market," he added.
Knowledge is powerful. Using www.outofpocket.com, consumers can look up how much a service will cost before they visit the provider.
The website is intended to benefit the 10 million consumers with high-deductible health insurance plans, and the 47 million uninsured Americans that currently pay inflated prices for health care services.
For more information, visit www.OutofPocket.com