Employee Programs to Lower Healthcare Costs

“Health insurance sucks.” This is a sentiment every patient has probably identified with at some point over the last year. Employer-provided benefit programs can certainly help employees with cutting health care costs, but they still leave so much to be desired. If you think insurance plans are confusing and that trying to understand your benefits is like deciphering hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt; you’re not alone.

health insurance issues

(Read: The 37 Stages of Reading Medical Bills)

Employers recognize the challenges their employees are facing. Between confusing plans, providing options low cost medical care and employee wellness; it can be challenging to focus on one area and change the game. Many employer groups have made significant strides to improve overall employee wellness with the implementation of programs that reward healthy lifestyles. These kinds of programs are so valuable, but high health costs are becoming an increasingly ominous concern for employees across the country.

The average cost for employer-provided health coverage has risen 4% over the last year. For a family plan the average price has gone from $16,834 (2014) to $17,545 (2015), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. There are a number of components contributing to these rising employee out-of-pocket costs, but higher deductibles have certainly made a dent. Last year, the average deductible for a single employee was $1,217. Five years before that, the average deductible was only $917. This year, the average tops out at a whopping $1,318, which means patients are paying more out-of-pocket than ever before.

employee health costs

Finding a way to lower employee costs and create effective employee programs is still a mystery to most. Educated employees and giving them access to price transparency tools can help them become better, more consumer-driven patients. With tools like Save On Medical, employers will see lower premiums and employees will have lower out-of-pocket costs and be able to save on medical bills before they arrive. They can actually find cheap places to get lab work done or pay for an affordable MRI without the sticker shock of steep medical bills down the line.

The Issue: Employers are struggling to find programs that really work for their employees that are able to:

  1. Be used in conjunction with their insurance
  2. Truly show value both in regards to saving money and taking care of their employees
  3. Be put in place easily, without creating more hoops for employees to jump through
  4. Be easy to use

How Save On Medical Helps:

  1. TrueCost will show employees what their out-of-pocket costs will be if they use their insurance, where they are in their deductible cycle and whether or not it’s better just to go the self-pay route.
  2. Working with employer groups, we’ll be able to show how much they saved on every procedure their employees purchased along with engagement reports to show employee adoption rates.
  3. Save On Medical is easily implemented and easy to use. Once the employees’ accounts are created we walk them through their dashboard and they are ready to shop, compare and save, right away.

healthcare shopping

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Price Transparency & Affordable Drugs: Daraprim Included

The health care world has been abuzz all week talking about the increased price for prescription drug, Daraprim. Many have challenged Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli’s decision to jack up the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750, but what this controversial decision has done is bring to life a much bigger issue… The lack of price transparency in the world of healthcare and prescription drugs.

prescription price transparency

(Read More: How Comparing Health Costs Can Save You Money)

Price transparency: From provider and patient perspectives

Price transparency in health care gets a lot of push back from insurance companies and healthcare providers alike but patients are left shanghaied, wondering why they can’t just find clear pricing. The physicians and insurance provider camp argues that medical costs aren’t all cut and dry because there are variables like additional necessary testing and medications. The patient camp argues that there are many procedures and medications that are simplistic, like an MRI or a regular prescription such as birth control. In these instances, patients have started to demand access to MRI costs so they can actually find an affordable MRI. Those same consumer-driven patients have also voiced their desire to see prices for affordable drugs online.

So, what is Daraprim?

Daraprim (Pyrimethamine) is a prescription drug used to prevent malaria and treat parasitic infections like toxoplasmosis which can commonly affect those with HIV/AIDS or cancer.

Why does Daraprim pricing affect me?

The pricing confusion surrounding Daraprim, while problematic, has started the necessary conversation about making pharmaceutical drugs more affordable and making the costs clear. In a Huffington Post article, Anna Almendrala writes that only 2,000 Americans use the drug each year, but infectious disease expert, Dr. Carlos del Rio from Emory School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health commented saying that Daraprim is the best drug available to treat toxoplasmosis. Almendrala continues to say, that while 22.5% of Americans over the age of 12 are affected by toxoplasmosis, they do not often opt for Daraprim for whatever reason, now it will be due to cost.

What if I have insurance?

Maybe you can spring for Daraprim without being affected by these shrouded and steep costs? Unfortunately, even patients with insurance will see added consumer costs and ultimately, as Americans we will still end up paying for the price increase in our taxes.

research prescription costs

How can I find prices in my area?

Soon, Save On Medical will have the ability to compare prescription prices online. This should be finished soon, so don’t forget to check www.saveonmedical.com.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

5 Most Expensive States for Healthcare

One of the biggest challenges that patients face in the US health care system, is finding affordable health care options and having the ability to compare costs. As websites like Save On Medical gain traction and more states adopt price transparency, costs have started to go down but prices still vary greatly from state-to-state. This is to be expected, based on population, cost of living etc., but take a look at some of the most expensive states for healthcare, this way you can determine if traveling for more affordable options, could be worth it for your family.

the most expensive healthcare states

  1. Massachusetts – While healthcare spending in Massachusetts has gone down over the last few years, the costs of insurance premiums, especially for retired clients, still remains one of the highest in the country, totally $151,110 over 20 years. They have an awesome state-wide price transparency website which has contributed to more sensible pricing, but the average prices for procedures are much higher because of the larger Boston hospitals who can afford to charge more.
    1. MRI in Boston – $600
  2. Colorado – Colorado is a booming area, with some of the highest costs of living around. The same goes for their average monthly health insurance premiums in the mountain regions, with costs coming in at a whopping $462 each month. The good news is, that Colorado received a B on the price transparency grading, which means good things for consumer-driven patients.
    1. MRI in Denver – $555
  3. Mississippi – In the Southeastern area of Mississippi, Kaiser Health reports that the cheapest monthly premium for a 40-year-old person is $399, which is more than double what people in Salt Lake City pay (around $173/month).
    1. MRI Jackson, MS – $550
  4. New York – Some of the state’s top doctors are located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. World-renowned physicians work within famous hospitals and have their own private practices as well, so that could be why costs are so high. For instance, a C-Section on the Upper East Side will cost a patient around $19,107 while an hour and a half away, the same procedure in Trenton New Jersey only costs about $12,264.
    1. MRI Manhattan – $514
  5. Florida – For seniors, Medicare Parts B and D and supplemental insurance premiums Florida’s total for a 20-year long retirement insurance plan totals in at $152,184. That is one of the highest in the country due to the amount of retirees living there. However, when searching for prices of radiology procedures for example, there are tons of affordable options because of the large amount of IDTFs (Independent diagnostic testing facilities) in the state.
    1. MRI Miami – $444

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

20 Habits of Healthy & Thrifty People

Cutting out meat from your diet, even on just one day each week can decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 19%, according to a Harvard University study. Cutting back on meat can also cut your grocery bill.

habits of healthy thrifty people

1. Only shop on the outside of the grocery store

Those middle aisles are where your wallet and your healthy habits go to die. Stay on the outside edges of the grocery store and you’ll get fresh, healthy options at affordable prices. Side note: This is also where the sale displays will be set up!

2. Skip the gym membership and explore fit passes

Big box gym memberships can be expensive and most members don’t even get their money’s worth. Explore using a program like Peerfit (ask your work) or Classpass (can do on your own) because you’ll get more out of your workout and be more apt to go if you’re signed up for a class!

3. Celebrate “meatless Monday”
Cutting out meat from your diet, even on just one day each week can decrease your risk of heart disease by up to 19%, according to a Harvard University study. Cutting back on meat can also cut your grocery bill.

4. Ask your HR
Ask your office Human Resources department any benefits you may not be using, like flexible spending accounts, prescription discounts, transit cards or fitness memberships.

5. Start biking
Don’t pay for cabs or gas, if you are within a couple miles, just bike to your destination instead. Don’t have a bike? Invest in one you’ll be happy to ride, or see if your city has memberships to rent bikes!

6. Don’t smoke

This seems like a no brainer, between the high costs for tobacco, the dirty looks you’ll get from your friends and the expensive health risk that come along with tobacco use, it doesn’t hardly seem worth it.

7. Follow the 2/30 rule
Limit your TV watching to two hours a day and be sure to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, this can be a brisk walk, weight training or a high-intensity workout like Beachbody or cardio.

8. Drink more water
Instead of ordering a soda at lunch or sugary juice at breakfast, just opt for water. People say to get 8 glasses per day, but to determine how much you should be drinking, just divide your body weight in half, and that’s how many ounces you should consume each day.

9. Shop on a full stomach

Don’t go to the grocery hungry or everything will look too delicious to pass up. Take your list with you and don’t deviate from it, this will help you stay on budget.

10. Orange you glad we’re halfway through?
Many studies point out that the simple act of SMELLING an orange can reduce stress. The vitamin C is great for you too to keep your immune system healthy, but smelling it isn’t enough, you’ll have to eat it too!

11. Compare costs of appointments and medical procedures

Don’t just blindly book appointments or medical procedures without finding out about the price first. Patients no longer have to go in to health care providers without an idea of what their final bill will be like, patients can shop for health care now.

12. Portion Control

Just because you make a full plate of food, doesn’t mean you have to eat it all at once, save the second half for lunch the following day.

13. Meal Prep

The simple act of planning out your meals throughout the week will keep you from binging on expensive meals out with friends or grabbing takeout on the way home from work because you’re too tired to cook.

14. Use Pinterest

That’s right. Feel free to play on Pinterest. Make a board of health foods and recipes and only buy the necessary items at the grocery store.

15. Stay home on a Friday night

Your friends will understand and don’t let the FOMO (fear of missing out) get the best of you, stay in and save money or detox every once in a while. Your wallet and body will thank you later.

16. They find an awesome water bottle

Find a big water bottle that you like and is easy to carry around with you. This will remind you to get your ounces in and you won’t have to spend money on water bottles.

17. Don’t avoid annual check-ups

By skipping your check-ups and annual appointments, you are putting yourself at the risk of missing important health info. This could also lead to steeper medical bills down the line, if you think about a $30 co-pay versus thousands of dollars in hospital bills, it’s an easy decision!

18. Take your vitamins

Vitamins can be expensive but if you know where to find deals, like at VitaMe, you can make sure you’re saving money and getting the best vitamins for YOU.

19. Take your lunch to work

Bring the ol’ brown bag lunch to the office. You’ll want to eat those prepped meals after all and you can save money eating in instead of going to the deli down the street. This doesn’t mean you can’t get away from your desk though, find a table or nice bench outside and get some fresh air while you have your lunch!

20. Splurge on a juicer or smoothie blender

It will be an expensive move on the front end, but getting a juicer or a smoothie blender can save you tons down the line as cold pressed juices can be expensive! They are also a healthy way for you to get your fruits and veggies on the go.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The 5 Most Common Sports Injuries (And How Much They Cost)

If you or your child play sports, you are no stranger to athletic injuries. The old adage, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt,” has never been more true. The biggest issue with sports injuries, is when athletes either play through the pain and end up hurting themselves worse or getting back in the game before they are healed. We wanted to highlight the five most common sports injuries, how to identify them, how to get treatment for those injuries and give you an idea of how much the procedures will cost you.

the 5 most common sports injuries and costs


  1. Ankle Injuries: Ankle injuries are by far the most common injuries athletes experience, especially in younger female athletes who have weaker ankles. The most common ankle injuries include: Ankle CT Cost in Tampa
  • Ankle Sprain: A sprain happens when the ligaments in your ankle, connecting your bones, either overstretch or tear. Minor sprains are less painful, but a major sprain usually has a complete tear. This often occurs when you roll your ankle or turn it.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – There will be immediate swelling and maybe bruising. It may hurt to touch your ankle or walk on it, but there is no need for medical imaging.
    • Costs – $70 – The average cost to see a doctor at the urgent care clinic.
  • Ankle Fracture: These may be acute fractures (a one-time injury) or a stress fracture, cased by repeated stress on the bone.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – If your pain is severe you should consult a physician to determine if there is an ankle fracture. The doctor will order an X-ray to confirm a fracture and may order a CT scan as well to further evaluate, especially if the fracture is in the ankle joint.
    • Costs – CT Scan in Tampa costs $325 while an ankle X-ray costs between $75-$125.

Shop Now: for Ankle CT scans and X-rays

  1. Knee Injuries: Over 5 Million athletes go to orthopedic surgeons with knee injuries each year. Depending on the injury, it could mean the end of someone’s athletic career, so appropriately diagnosing knee injuries early is of the utmost importance. There’s a large range of knee injuries with varying severity levels, including: Ankle CT Cost in Tampa
  • ACL Tear: Athletes often tear their ACLs by changing direction too quickly, stopping too fast, while slowing down, jumping and landing incorrectly or in a collision with another player. You will often here a loud pop when the anterior cruciate ligament is torn.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Your doctor will likely order an MRI of the knee to identify an ACL tear. They cannot be diagnosed with an x-ray, though a doctor might do one first to rule out any broken bones.
    • Costs – an MRI in Chicago costs anywhere from $375 to $525, while an X-ray at the same places cost $90 and $105 respectively.
  • Meniscus Tear: A meniscus tear is when there is damage to the discs that cushion your knee, which is usually caused when your knee twists by your foot stays planted on the ground. This is very common in soccer players.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Some of these tears can be healed without surgery, but an MRI will determine if there is a tear and how extensive the tear is.
    • Costs – Prices for a knee MRI in Chicago start at $375.

Shop Now: for Knee MRIs in your area

  1. Shoulder Injuries: In 2006, AAOS reported that approximately 7.5 million people went to orthopedists for shoulder issues with more than 4.1 million of these patients being diagnosed with rotator cuff injuries. Shoulder MRI Cost Los Angeles
  • Rotator Cuff Injury: The tissues connecting your arm to your shoulder is what makes up your rotator cuff. Injuries occur to this area with repetitive movement or just age in general. Common symptoms include pain at rest and at night, pain when lifting or lowering arms or a crackling sensation with movement.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Early repair is important for an athlete because these can become harder to repair down the line. Your physician will likely order an ultrasound to find tears early on, which can be repaired with a keyhole surgery (arthroscopy) or open surgery.
    • Costs – An ultrasound of the rotator cuff in Orlando costs $225, while the arthroscopic procedure price starts at around $2,139.
  • Shoulder Labral Tear: There at SLAP labral tears (above socket) and Bankart tears (below socket), but each can cause pain with overhead activities, loss of strength, decreased range of motion and instability. These are often caused by direct shots to the shoulder or can occur with throwing.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Shoulder labral tears can be diagnosed with a MR Arthrogram and confirmed with a keyhole surgery (arthroscopy).
    • Costs – The MR Arthrogram will cost $520 in Los Angeles while the arthroscopy in that area will cost $5,805.

Shop Now: for shoulder surgeries and diagnostic imaging

  1. Hip Injuries: Hip injuries affect more than just the elderly, in fact 10% of injuries amount NFL players involved the hip. There are a number of hip injuries to be aware of, including: Hip Xray Cost New York City
  • Hip Labral Tears: The hip labrum is the cartilage surrounding your hip socket. A tear in this essential area will cause pain in the groin and hip and could feel like your hip joint is “catching” with movement.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Your physician will test your hip’s range of motion initially, then could order an X-ray to rule out fractures or other issues and finally order an MRI with contrast injected to define a labral tear.
    • Costs – The hip MRI will cost $475 in New York City, while the hip X-ray would cost just $90.
  • Hip Pointer: A hip pointer injury is painful, but not career-ending for athletes. It’s caused when you get hit or fall on the ground on your side. There will likely be a lot of pain and bruising.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Most hip pointers can be diagnosed without imaging, but a physician may order an MRI and ultrasound to determine the extent of the injury or order an X-ray for younger patients to rule out an avulsion fracture.
    • Costs – The hip MRI in Miami would cost $444, the hip ultrasound would cost $280 and if an x-ray was necessary, the cost would be $90.

Shop Now: for hip MRIs, ultrasounds and x-rays

  1. Shin Splints: Shin splints are very common in runners and are extremely painful. The annoying thing about shin splint injuries is that there is no quick fix treatment and continuing to run just makes them worse.
  • Shin Splints: With shin splits there is a full ache in the front, lower part of your leg that will get worse as you exercise. It’s caused when your muscles swell and build pressure against your bone.
    • Diagnosis/Treatment – Your physician will likely not order any imaging as these are easy to diagnose based on pain and activity. The doctor will recommend ice packs for inflammation, ibuprofen, stretching and cutting high impact running.
    • Costs – No imaging necessary, so your only costs would be for ice packs and ibuprofen!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment