The problem is not that health insurance is expensive, it’s that health care is expensive. If you bring down the cost of health care, the cost of health insurance will follow. So here’s 1 way to bring healthcare costs down: Have every provider publish their prices. Every doctor, specialist, lab, emergency room & hospital should publish their prices – just as a restaurant publishes their prices in the form of a menu. This will do 2 things….
1). It will make patients shop for the best price. An x-ray on Main St might cost $325 while the same X-Ray on Elm St might cost $120. So if you get your X-Ray on Elm street, you’ve just saved the system $205. So why not price shop healthcare just as you would anything else? Of course you always shop quality as well, just as you would for anything else. 2). It will cause the providers to become more competitive. After all, every business wants to be competitive. If the providers published their prices, then prices would become more competitive since nobody is going to patronize a business if their prices are out of whack – no matter if it’s a hospital or a hamburger stand.
But here’s the rub…. Nobody really cares if they can get an x-ray cheaper on Elm St if they’re not paying for the X-Ray (since the bill is going to the insurance company). BUT… what if insurance companies published their own menu? Their menu would show exactly how much they would pay for any given procedure in any given area. If the insurance company says they’ll pay $22,000 for a gall bladder surgery and you need a gall bladder surgery, then here’s what would happen…
You’d shop for a provider that would perform a gall bladder surgery for $22,000 or less. If the provider charges more, you can either negotiate the price, find another provider or pay the difference out-of-pocket if you really like that provider. Isn’t that how everything else works? Why should healthcare be any different? We, the people, must be part of the solution in helping to keep healthcare costs down – it won’t happen on it’s own. If the providers post their prices and we shop them, just as we would shop anything else, healthcare costs would come down and as a result, the cost of health insurance would come down as well.
Author: neil steinman
Neil Steinman is the principal of Orange County Health & Life Insurance in Orange County, CA. Neil prides himself in keeping things simple and easy for his clients while providing them with the best products from the top carriers. In addition to working directly with clients, Neil is also an instructor of Health Insurance and Medicare to licensed insurance agents. Neil has been in the industry for nearly 20 years.