The Price is Right: Stop Guessing Health Care Costs

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Let’s set the scene. You’re homesick (or just playing hooky). You shuffle in your slippers out into the living room where you plop down in your fluffy robe with a big bowl of cereal with a day of lounging in front of you.  It’s that time of the morning; when there is only one suitable television program to be watching. We all know what that show is, right? The. Price. Is. Right.

Anyone growing up in the 80’s or 90’s remembers Bob Barker as the host for the legendary show, leading the “Showcase Showdown,” challenging contestants to accurately guess the prices of big-ticket items such as cars and boats. We all secretly watched the show in preparation for the day we ever got the chance to appear on “The Price Is Right.” Like Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother,” you may have found yourself becoming increasingly aware of the costs of things, just in case you ever got your chance to shine.
 This got us thinking.

Many people out there know the approximate costs of items they might never buy.  So, when it comes to expensive medical procedures, why have prices remained such a mystery to patients?

At Healthbox Florida’s Innovation Day at Florida Blue in Jacksonville, Florida we decided to host a little experiment. We asked attendees if they knew the average cost in Jacksonville for a gallon of gas. (The answer we were looking for was about $3.33.) Next we them, if they were aware of lower priced gasoline down the road, would that influence their purchasing decision? Most everyone said yes, even if it was only a difference of a few cents.

This begged us to then point out the differences in price for an MRI at two locations in Jacksonville ranging from $400 to $1,734.  So many patients blindly follow their physician’s instructions despite potential cost variances, but if they’re willing to make the trek further down the road to save a few cents on gas, it only makes sense that they would do the same to save over $1,000 on health costs. (Pun intended.)

Our mission has always been to help patients find affordable care so that they don’t get stuck paying too much for their medical procedures. Now, we’ll also be focused on empowering patients to compare costs – to use the tools we’ve provided to be smart shoppers in the healthcare system.  Find a company that’s taking the guessing out of the equation by showing REAL prices for medical procedures.

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