The Price (Transparency) is Right

The Price (Transparency) is Right

Imagine this: You’re out to eat and just enjoyed a nice dinner. You ask for the check, and the waiter says, “I’m sorry, I have no idea how much this dinner will cost. I’ll let you know in two weeks.” We imagine your response would be something along the lines of “I’m sorry…what?!” If they didn’t know how much they were going to charge you, how would you know that you weren’t getting scalped? How would you know the value of the service you received? How would you budget for meals?

That scenario sounds so outlandish because in the real world, all of us expect to know exactly what we are getting and to be told exactly what that costs. We have to ask, then: Why are we all using this healthcare system where we have no way of knowing the quality and cost of the care we are receiving?

Many of us are frustrated by the mysterious way the US Healthcare system operates.   Fortunately, there are things like price transparency that can help us solve the mystery. Price Transparency simply means that the cost of healthcare services is clear. There are a few ways that we and other like-minded companies are making prices visible. Some, like insurance carriers, are now providing tools with which you can approximately estimate the cost of services in your area. Some providers are taking it upon themselves to revise the formatting and wording of their invoices so they are easier for you to read and understand each line-item cost. We think it is important for you to know what you will pay before you even walk in the door of your doctor’s office.

With AxS, the information you send with a Book a Visit request allows each provider to estimate the cost of your appointment. Think you might have broken your wrist playing basketball with friends? The provider will take into consideration your insurance plan and send you an estimate for the cost of your visit, x-rays, and a cast. Has your throat been hurting for a few days and you think it might be strep? You’ll receive a proposed appointment time along with the expected cost of your visit and that strep test. No receiving a mystery bill a month later when you thought you were paid up, no ambiguous pricing, no surprises.

This is an important tool not only for those of us using insurance, but also for those of us who don’t wish to pay with insurance. Often, a patient paying cash will pay almost 300% of the industry standard for any given service, simply because there is no one on the other end of the line saying, “You can’t charge me that! That’s extortion!” How have we fixed this?  By setting a standard against which all providers must measure the cost of their services for cash-paying patients. The AxS Base Rate is a fair standard in your area that covers the minimum cost for providers, and was created so patients can compare how expensive each provider is – much like a travel book will tell you a restaurant is $, $$, $$$ or $$$$. We let each of our trusted providers on the AxS Provider Network know that they are expected to respect patients by charging them an honest amount. Most providers thus charge about 115% of our AxS Base Rate.

If you’re like us and are fed up with murky healthcare charges, check out the AxS Health App in the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.  You can even chat with us for more information by clicking on the “contact us” in the bottom right corner of our website. We’d love to hear from you.

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