Healthcare Pain to Healthcare Power
A transformational company called TALON is poised to change healthcare forever by empowering consumers as never before. That’s because TALON has developed software called MyMedicalShopper that will tell consumers the price for nearly every medical test and procedure from every provider around them. That means that, for the first time, we’ll have the ability to decide whether to spend $500 on an MRI or $6,000. And it turns out the disparity in pricing from different providers or facilities within just five miles of one another can be that different. Yup, like 10 or 15 times different.
One of the reasons that prices are so different between one provider and another is that American healthcare consumers have been treated like children. We’ve been encouraged to think of ourselves as using Monopoly money rather than real money when purchasing health care services—lulled into thinking, “It’s covered by insurance, so it doesn’t matter what the price is.” Hardly anyone even asks what the price of an X-ray or lipid panel or MRI or knee replacement is. If we did ask, most of the folks working the front desks at hospitals, clinics or labs couldn’t even put their hands on that data in time to let us make an informed choice. That’s disempowering, especially when many of us have high deductible health plans and might like to decide, from an educated perspective, whether to blow through that deductible on a CT scan when we can easily get the very same CT scan done for far, far less money (um, real money). It’s also disempowering to companies who have been footing the bill for health insurance for millions and millions of employees without having a way to encourage those employees to opt for equally good health care at a fraction of the cost.
Whereas the government often has a habit of infantilizing Americans, this time they’re doing the opposite by having issued the Transparency in Coverage Rule. The rule states that, by January 1, 2022, Americans have to be given tools like those now available right now from TALON to shop for their health care. That’s not surprising: TALON CEO and Founder Mark Galvin was present at the initial meetings with the federal government that set the stage for the Transparency in Coverage Rule becoming a reality.
As Sir Francis Bacon is often credited as saying, “Knowledge is power.” TALON and the Transparency in Coverage rule are one shining example of that fact.
So, get ready for big changes in healthcare that will bring some autonomy and free choice to individuals purchasing—yes, purchasing, with their hard-earned, real money—healthcare services. Finally.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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