An entrepreneur who grew up under the Canadian health care system is offering an online bidding service for patients seeking cheaper health care, and a growing number of Americans are using it. For a fee, the four-year-old service allows patients to request bids for non-emergency care from facilities and doctors, who must also pay a fee to bid. Although the service requires doctors to submit their medical license numbers, prospective patients are responsible for checking out the providers' credentials. That's where most of the criticism of the controversial service is focused, but the company's founder says that motivated patients can find all the available quality information from third-party sites on the internet -- and that the potential savings provide plenty of motivation. One patient accepted a bid for knee surgery that was half the lowest cost he could find locally. While uninsured patients stand to gain the most, as health plan deductibles get higher, there may be a role for this type of service within a health plan. It's certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Go to full article: kaiserhealthnews.org