By Theo Thimou, clarkhoward.com
If you’ve ever tried to shop for health care by price, you know it’s a frustrating experience. That’s because health care as an industry has steadfastly rejected price transparency, with the exception of nurse-in-a-box operations that generally do post prices.
But that frustrating feeling may soon go away thanks to an innovative new website.
Know what you’re going to pay before you go under the knife
Amino is a free service that allows you to research the cost of a particular procedure at your doctor of choice based on the insurance you have!
It pulls together data from other people who have the same insurance who already had the procedure you’re looking for at the doctor you’re considering.
The system was recently updated and is more robust than ever. Amino now boasts pricing data on 550,000 physicians, 49 procedures and 129 insurance companies.
Among the procedures you can get a quote for on Amino are ACL surgery, EKGs, hernia surgery, knee arthroscopy, skin tag removal and vasectomy.
For example, ACL surgery in Jacksonville, Fla., with United Healthcare as your insurer yields quotes that range from $7,957 to $10,841 for the same procedure at different doctors throughout the area.
In another example, a liver biopsy in the Los Angeles area with Aetna can run you anywhere from $3,838 to $4,411. So it pays shop wisely!
Next up, Amino will be developing pricing data for MRIs, according to USA TODAY. MRIs typically aren’t done by doctors but rather at MRI centers. So Amino will have to do what it does best — pull together the data from MRI centers around the country to develop price estimates based on your specific insurance!
The service that Amino offers should go a long way toward eliminating the surprise of medical bills that show up long after your procedure is done.
You have recourse if medical billing issues arise
Medical debt is damaging the credit of around 43 million people, according to the latest figures available. You would expect damaged credit from medical bills to be a problem for the uninsured. But the untold story here is that people with insurance get their credit trashed both because of billing mix-ups and high debt-to-income ratios.
Some of that debt is debt that people don’t legitimately owe. That’s because roughly eight in 10 hospital bills have multiple errors,according to Money magazine. So almost always the bill will be wrong, and it won’t be in your favor.
If you need help sorting out your bill, you might cosider hiring a claims assistance professional or medical billing advocate who will look over your bill and vet it for errors.
These people are available in more than half of all states in the country. Visit Claims.org or BillAdvocates.com to locate one near you and expect to pay between $30 and $50 per hour for their services. Anyone who is uninsured and paying retail for expensive medical services should go this route!
For more information follow this link, clarkhoward.com