In the traditional American insurance model of healthcare, patients often have no idea and no choice in the costs of medical procedures until well after those procedures have been completed, when the insurance company determines how much or whether they will cover the bill and the doctor or hospital then turns to the patient to cover the remaining expenses. Sometimes even the doctors and nurses don’t even know the cost of the procedures they are asking to be done, and in any case, patients are rarely in a position in which they can negotiate those prices. On the other hand, a new model of health care has been emerging in recent years in which medical practices, often for a primary care physician, will set and publish the prices for all procedures the patient may potentially undergo before the person even becomes a patient of the doctor. Many of these practices are able to have much lower prices than traditional medical practices because they do not need to rely on insurance companies. Additionally, patients have the ability to compare and select the practice at which they wish to be a patient so that there are no surprises.
In almost every single other kind of transaction, consumers and producers have the required information to make informed decisions well before the transaction: people who buy cars know how much the car costs and how much other people pay for their own cars so that at the dealership they can make an informed decision about the car they may want to buy. If car dealers hid the prices of their cars before the transaction, or if no one knew what other people were paying for cars in general, people would be much less likely to buy cars in such a circumstance.
Nevertheless, health care has been different because much of the time people simply have to go to the doctor because of some urgent or pending medical condition. In this circumstance, the concern over health and a healthy life supersedes the need to understand the costs: but that is simply unfair—medical practices and insurance companies should not be able to take advantage of people’s medical needs and charge them exorbitant rates. This is why transparency in medical pricing is so important. It allows patients to have the appropriate power of choice for their medical needs.
Many doctors who provide transparent pricing are also primary care physicians who maintain a network of transparently priced specialists. In this way, patients will always know what to expect, and there should never be any surprises along the way. These kinds of medical practices may even offer retainer or concierge services, with all pricing information available up front. Internal Medicine, Lipids, and Wellness does offer price transparency as well as concierge and retainer services, as well as other plans to make health care affordable. All of the pricing information is available up front on the website, but if you have any additional questions, we are also available to answer. Call us today at (239) 362-3005, extension 200.