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).
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?