Consumers collaborate to expose true healthcare prices. I am a fan of free-market solutions to reform our dysfunctional and unsustainable health care system. More competition and consumer-choices will drive down prices, encourage innovation, increase patient care and improve the quality. Unfortunately, consumers do NOT have access to relevant tools that are necessary to help them make informed, cost-effective choices for finding the best value for common health care services. There’s plenty of health care content out there, but no meaningful tools that you can use to lookup costs for routine health care services and ratings on what other consumers think of the provider, so I have decided to start a grass-roots initiative that relies on social networking to help consumers find the best value for routine health care services. The project is called, OutOfPocket.com, and includes a directory of true prices for common health care services based on actual visits by individual consumers. The website invites everyone to contribute, including the insured and insured, by anonymously posting prices they paid for routine health care services (such as MRIs, mammograms, x-rays, CT scans, vaccinations, office visits, dental and vision), along with their personal recommendations on the provider.
This website benefits all consumers without having to wait for legislation to pass, complicated programs to be initiated, or waiting for the country to decide how to reform our health care system. The site was launched last month and everyone is encouraged to participate. If enough consumers participate to share prices – consumers will have created a powerful tool to help make informed healthcare purchasing decisions and everyone benefits by exposing health care prices. Consumers save money by shopping for the best value and eliminating wasteful spending on overpriced services with poor performance. Check out the website, tell your friends about this project, and let me know what you think.