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Comparison Shopping for Health Services
Old 08-18-2005, 08:24 AM   #1
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Comparison Shopping for Health Services

From WSJ.com:

Insurer Reveals What Doctors Really Charge
To Help People Compare Fees,
Aetna Posts Some Online;
A Potential Bargaining Tool

The growing effort to enlist consumers in reducing health-care costs has been stymied by the fact that most people just don't know what medical care costs...

Now, a major national health insurer is making an effort to change that. Starting tomorrow, Aetna Inc. plans to make available online the exact prices it has negotiated with Cincinnati-area doctors for hundreds of medical procedures and tests. The initiative, which Aetna hopes to take eventually to other parts of the country, aims to give patients the tools to comparison shop and make savvier decisions with their health-care dollars.

Aetna is the first major health insurer to publicly disclose the fees it negotiates with physicians. Some in the health-care industry say the move is likely to push more insurers to follow suit, which in turn would give a significant boost to consumer-driven health plans [HSA's].


http://tinyurl.com/dqxw3

Sure hope this is just the beginning. It's about time there was some genuine price competition in the health care industry.

REW
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services
Old 08-18-2005, 09:43 AM   #2
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services

My employer switched to Aetna a couple years ago. Been pretty good so far; perscription coverage is weak ... probably cost cutting on my employers side.

So I called HR to see how much COBRA will cost with Aetna for a family of 4 in MA. Drum roll please .... $1054/month. Ouch! So we're applying to BC/BS HSA.

Not enough cost cutting IMHO.
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services
Old 08-18-2005, 09:59 AM   #3
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services

This price competition thing got me thinking. What is the one sure way to reduce health care costs in the US? The law of supply and demand, of course. Good old econ 101.

So, here's what we should do...have a "health-in" (a "sick-out" in reverse). That's right, no one gets sick or has cosmetic surgery or check ups, etc. for say, two or three months. What's the first thing that happens when demand drops? Reduced prices, of course!

I can see it now:

- Your local clinic will have a "back to school sale"...
- All the hospitals in town will start offering discounts and rebates...
- We'll start seeing 'bundled' offers, such as "a free prescription with every doctor visit"...
- Patient loyalty programs where "every 5th appointment is free"...
- Or "buy one - get one free" cosmetic surgery ("you pay for the left one and we'll do the right one at no charge")...

Just think of the possibilites.

REW
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services
Old 08-18-2005, 10:12 AM   #4
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
So, here's what we should do...have a "health-in" (a "sick-out" in reverse).
I can only imagine the lifestyle changes when doctors tell their patients "Lose 25 pounds, drop 30 points off your bloodpressure, and drop another 50 units off your total cholesterol or I'm doubling my fees."

Oh, wait, that phenomenon was supposed to change consumer's commuting behavior when gas rose above $2.50/gallon. Never mind.
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services
Old 01-01-2006, 06:23 PM   #5
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Re: Comparison Shopping for Health Services

<SNIP>
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
This price competition thing got me thinking.* What is the one sure way to reduce health care costs in the US?* The law of supply and demand, of course.* Good old econ 101.*
It's suppost to work that way and I wish that it would, butttttttttttt... we also live in a society (low-middle-upper class alike) that will (I repeat, WILL) spend their last dollar on gasoline or satellite/cable TV no matter what the cost. Our gasoline has risen approximately a buck a gallon and satellite TV ("Dish" at least) has risen 8% on my bill with 2006. Betcha a nickel that demand will increase for both this year.

We the people have enormous power to keep prices in check but where is the boycott?!?

Gotta go... there's a good special tonight on Fox News Channel!
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