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Paying patients to save money
Old 10-07-2015, 07:38 PM   #1
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Paying patients to save money

On the road today listening to podcasts and I found out about a program (SmartShopper) that pays health care patients to use the cheapest provider when having a medical procedure done. In one example, they directed a patient to a cheaper MRI option (cost = $450) versus a hospital (cost = $1000) and paid the patient something like $50 to do so (I'm going by memory here). For another treatment (Remicade Infusion) patients would get $500 back by using the cheapest provider found by SmartShopper (normal cost $20k, cheaper provider cost $3k).

Podcast link:
Episode 655: Pay Patients, Save Money : Planet Money : NPR
(There is a link to a transcript if you don't want to listen to the podcast)

In order for their service to work, they must know the actual cost of treatment at different providers. I think this is even more amazing than getting rewards to use the cheaper provider.

Has anybody used this service? either to get a rebate or just to find out how much a procedure would cost?
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:42 PM   #2
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No, but I think it is a very good idea. It is easy to determine the hospital cost of the procedure. Just ask the billing department or even ask the nurse and she can find that easy. That is a good way to stop the hospital abuse of overcharging for these tests and procedures.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:14 PM   #3
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Ironically drug companies have been doing the opposite with coupons to pay the copay on more expensive drug choices.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birchwood View Post
It is easy to determine the hospital cost of the procedure. Just ask the billing department or even ask the nurse and she can find that easy.
The last time my wife needed an MRI she asked about the cost and it ended up being very different from what they told her (I can't remember exactly who she asked). I guess we'll specifically check with the billing dept next time.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:28 PM   #5
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Do they check in and out of network. My copay/insurance increase out of network would probably exceed the reward. (Actually, I think I read in the insurance brochure that we are not allowed to accept kickbacks.)
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:47 PM   #6
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I have used this service with my health insurance. I switched from a clinic location to a hospital location and got $25 from my last mammogram. Interestingly, it was the same medical group so I didn't even have to switch my records.


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