Let me say at the outset that I neither endorse nor condemn the option I am about to describe. I am simply providing information. If you are interested in pursuing something like this, you should research the possibilities and risks thoroughly. I am writing this primarily because it could signal dramatic changes in the healthcare industry.
I've seen this topic mentioned on the "Today Show" from NBC and I've seen a case study in an AARP publication. What is it? It's something like an eBay auction for elective surgery!
Here's the website that manages the process: MediBid. A patient registers on that website and the process works something like this summary from the website:
- Create Your Profile - Answer some basic health questions
- Create a Request - Ask for what you need.
- Collect Bids - Review the physicians and facilities that were matched with you. If you see any you like, you can ask them to submit a Bid on your medical request, or you can wait a few days and see who gives you a Bid on their own.
- Accept a Bid - When you find the physician or facility that is the right choice for you, click “Accept this Bid”, and you will instantly be provided with the Bidder’s contact information. They will also be provided with yours.
- Connect – Make an appointment with the specialist, and pay the doctor at the time of your visit.
There is much more detailed information on the website.
I don't want to make a serious issue sound trite or overly simple. As stated earlier, research by you is most important. However, it is an alternative that could result in significantly lower costs. And, according to the AARP article, it has worked.