A new website wants to help consumers find the best deals on medical visits and procedures. CarePay features a price comparison tool that allows users to search by their zip code and find the current Medicare and Medicaid prices at local doctor’s offices.
Renee Hoffman lives with Multiple Sclerosis and in any given year she could have various doctor visits and MRI scans.
“Seven, eight, 900 dollars for one MRI. Well, I have to have five different ones and that is a lot of money, times five,” Hoffman said.
Her treatment is expensive and difficult to afford but CarePay wants to change that.
“Anywhere in this country, you can log in your zip code or your town and you can find providers in your area with the current Medicaid and Medicare prices,” Julie Westcott said.
Westcott is with CarePay, and she says the site lets patients like Hoffman look up prices with local doctors. The current Medicare and Medicaid prices are used as a baseline price for the procedure. If a consumer does not see a price they want to pay, and they want to pay out-of-pocket, they can request a quote.
“There are a lot of people that are uncomfortable with calling and asking for that type of information. We are very good at it,” Westcott said.
Hoffman requested a self-pay quote from the website. About five days later she received an email with the name of a provider who would do the MRI for $250 without contrast and $450 with contrast. A cheaper price than she found before.
Westcott says doctors like self-pay patients because there is less paperwork and they get paid when the services are provided.
Dr. Brian Flowers is an orthopedic surgeon and a CarePay investor. He agrees that insurance billing often leaves patients and doctors confused about what procedures cost and how much they will be paid.
“This adds a little more certainty to that and if gives the patients a chance to budget for whatever ailment they might have,” Flowers said.
CarePay representatives say their average response time after a consumer requests a quote is 24-48 hours. Using the site does not cost anything, but phase two of the website will include a transaction fee where you can pay your doctor’s fees right on the site.