When you’re buying a big-ticket item, would you purchase it from the first website or store you visited? What if you found that item for $500, but then conducted a quick search on Amazon and realized you could have bought it for $250? Whether you realize it or not, you’re comparing prices and quality of everyday items that you consume.
It might be different brands at the grocery store, one TV vs. another, or even buying a new car! Why is it that healthcare, something that can cost a lot more than your TV, is the last thing we think to shop around for? The importance of arming yourself with information on healthcare is pertinent. Not many people realize that they have a choice of what facility they would like to have procedures performed at, conduct research on where doctors are referring, and the impact that shopping around has on their wallet.
Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid when getting a healthcare procedure or service.
1. Not Choosing the Right Facility
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to your healthcare is not choosing the right facility when it comes to cost and quality for your procedure or service. Facility’s prices can range up to 5 times in price for the same procedure, so why pay $2,500 for an MRI when you can pay $500? Where you choose to receive your care is where you will find the most significant savings; choosing a low-cost facility is crucial and can save you a lot of money. It’s not only important to choose a low-cost facility to keep your wallet healthy, but it’s also essential to choose a high-quality facility for your health. It’s also important to note that hospital costs do not directly correlate with quality; just because a hospital costs more, doesn’t mean you’re receiving higher quality care. Hospitals are not great at everything they do – so make sure you are choosing the correct hospital for your procedure or service!
2. Blindly Listening to Physician Referrals
You trust your doctor, right? As you should! However, once your physician has given you the recommendation to have that MRI, they typically will refer you to “the place next door” or the closest facility to them. Typically, this ends up being a hospital, which can charge anywhere from 5-10 times more than an independent imaging center. Sometimes the imaging center can end up even being closer to your home! Most of the time, physicians don’t even realize how much their patients are being charged for procedures and services. This in turn means you are blindly accepting to listen to your doctor about which facility you should go to. When in fact, you have the power to research and choose! Healthcare Bluebook’s Enterprise Solution lets you look at your doctor’s referral patterns to see which facilities they normally refer to. Being able to search helps open the conversation with your doctor, in their office, to see which facilities they could send you to. From experience, most doctors are floored, and just as surprised as you are, at how much one facility’s price can vary from the next.
3. Not Understanding the Importance of Consumerism in Healthcare
Most people understand the importance of consumerism in many aspects of their lives. We know that you shouldn’t buy a TV for $1,500 when you can find the same TV online or at another store for only $400. Or you wouldn’t buy a used car for $23,000 when it should only cost $14,000. Making decisions about our healthcare shouldn’t be much different, but shopping for care is still a foreign concept to most people. If you saw someone walking down the street, they could probably tell you the fair price you should pay for a TV or even a Honda Civic, but most likely, they will have no idea what the Fair Price you should pay for a CT or colonoscopy would be. There is also an assumption that it’s too risky to shop for medical care the way you would a TV or a car because material items don’t directly affect your health. If you not only have quick and easy access to the costs of facilities in your area as well as facility quality information, then how can we still argue the risk factor? Our brains are simply not wired to be conscious consumers of healthcare yet, which is why transparency solutions are so vital in making this change in human behavior.
We have a long way to go when it comes to changing our social perception of healthcare consumerism. However, having the right resources like Healthcare Bluebook, could possibly make or break your future! Make sure you are protecting your health and your bank account by doing your research, so you know where to go to have your procedures and services performed.