How to Save On Medical Bills

In a recent study, CIGNA reported that cost is the #1 reason why people don’t go to the doctor or take care of their medical needs. In fact, 42% of those surveyed said they worried that they wouldn’t be able to pay for their kid’s college tuition because of high health care costs.

We’ve heard that if you don’t go to college, you won’t get a high paying job and if you don’t get a high paying job you’ll be forced to steal toys from the toy store for your children and if you steal toys from the toy store you’ll get tazed by a security officer and if you get tazed by a security office you’ll have a permanent tick where your left eye winks and if you have a tick where you left eye winks then truckers will think you’re hitting on them. Don’t let truckers think you’re hitting on them. So, Little Bobby needs to go to college. We at SaveOnMedical want to help you save on medical expenses so you have room in your budget for the things you need.


How does one save on medical bills then when one finds out they need an expensive medical procedure?


Step 1: Ask your doctor if he or she knows of any care providers who offer discounts if you pay out-of-pocket up-front.

Step 2: Find out how much you’d be responsible for paying if you filed through your insurance.

Step 3: Find out the self-pay rate for the procedure and compare that to the price you’d pay with insurance. (Fun fact: this capability will be available to patients using SaveOnMedical in 2015!)

Step 4: Be sure to compare costs at private practices (non-hospital owned) versus providers with ties to a hospital system.

Step 5: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about additional fees ahead of time so you’ll be aware of the full cost up front.

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The Evolution of Health Care Consumers

The term “health care consumer” didn’t even exist 5 years ago, but with societal changes, health care policy changes and increased medical costs… consumerism has become necessary for many patients.  Now there’s a number of challenges with this concept but the most apparent one is the issue of discerning quality in relation to care.  Most people are aware of the pricing disparities for procedures and services across their communities.  Steven Brill’s “Bitter Pill” article in Time Magazine sparked awareness of price transparency and price gaps last year, leading a plethora of other reporters to focus on the subject. The question still remains though, “How are health care consumers to know which options are best for them?”

We aim to give patients information that will help them select care providers based on what is important to them, whether that be cost, quality or convenience. In order for us to be successful at this however, we first had to understand the evolution of the “patient consumer.” Vitals posted this fantastic infographic on their blog earlier this week, which does a great job exploring the kinds of patients that are out there, how they take care of themselves, how they find their doctors, how they handle medical bills and even their most common health habits!


Infographic From: Vitals Blog – Evolution of the Health Care Consumer

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The Price is Right: Stop Guessing Health Care Costs

Let’s set the scene. You’re home sick (or just playing hooky). You shuffle in your slippers out into the living room where you plop down in your fluffy robe with a big bowl of cereal with a day of lounging in front of you.  It’s that time of the morning; when there is only one suitable television program to be watching. We all know what that show is, right? The. Price. Is. Right.

Anyone growing up in the 80’s or 90’s remembers Bob Barker as the host for the legendary show, leading the “Showcase Showdown,” challenging contestants to accurately guess the prices of big-ticket items such as cars and boats. We all secretly watched the show in preparation for the day we ever got the chance to appear on “The Price Is Right.” Like Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother,” you may have found yourself becoming increasingly aware of the costs of things, just in case you ever got your chance to shine.

 This got us thinking.The Price Is Right Health Care


Many people out there know the approximate costs of items they might never buy.  So, when it comes to expensive medical procedures, why have prices remained such a mystery to patients?


At Healthbox Florida’s Innovation Day at Florida Blue in Jacksonville, Florida we decided to host a little experiment. We asked attendees if they knew the average cost in Jacksonville for a gallon of gas. (The answer we were looking for was about $3.33.) Next we them, if they were aware of lower priced gasoline down the road, would that influence their purchasing decision? Most everyone said yes, even if it was only a difference of a few cents.

This begged us to then point out the differences in price for an MRI at two locations in Jacksonville ranging from $400 to $1,734.  So many patients blindly follow their physician’s instructions despite potential cost variances, but if they’re willing to make the trek further down the road to save a few cents on gas, it only makes sense that they would do the same to save over $1,000 on health costs. (Pun intended.)

Our mission has always been to help patients find affordable care, so that they don’t get stuck paying too much for their medical procedures. Now, we’ll also be focused on empowering patients to compare costs – to use the tools we’ve provided to be smart shoppers in the healthcare system.  At Save On Medical, we’re taking the guessing out of the equation by showing REAL prices for medical procedures. Around here, our prices are RIGHT. No estimates. No hidden fees. No additional charges. No more bills sent months later. Real price transparency for real people.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Means Affordable Mammograms

To many people, October means the beginning of fall, football games, Halloween and prepping for the impending holiday season. Around here, October means one thing: Breast Cancer Awareness. In health care, we’re painting every town pink, spreading the word about early detection to women everywhere.

By helping women find affordable mammograms, we are helping them take control of their own breast health.  There is no time like the present, if you have been putting off getting your mammogram.  Why have you been avoiding getting your screening done? Do you not have the time? Do you think it will cost too much? Are you simply afraid of the results?  Take control of your health today and don’t let your fears get in your way.

Save On Medical providers across the country are offering discounted mammograms during the month of October so that women who are concerned about expensive screenings can get the care they deserve. Search Save On Medical and save yourself at least 50% on your mammography screening today!

Mammogram Prices

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Devil’s Advocate: The Challenges in Price Transparency

challenges in price transparencyWe’ve been yelling from the rooftops, promoting price transparency for the last three years. It has been assumed that showing patients how much their medical procedures cost will help drive down prices, improve patient consumerism and promote providers to offer affordable options. Providers across the country have jumped on board with the transparency plan, but there are a few roadblocks affecting the success of this bursting industry:

  1. Charges are not the same as prices

As consumers, we are trained to believe that when we see a price, that is all we will be charged for the product or service. In health care however, if you are able to find a price estimate for a procedure, that often does not take into account additional fees. Ex: Radiologist-reading fees at hospitals tacked on after the procedure

  1. Translating quality metrics into useful information can be subjective

Every patient is unique and rarely is one patient’s experience the same as another’s. Quality can be subjective when patients are judging a provider based on things like whether or not the nurse smiled or frowned and whether or not the patient was pleased with their diagnosis. To have true quality transparency, it needs to be clear that each provider is being compared apples to apples.

  1. Specialists and providers often bill patients separately for a procedure

Some providers are able to provide bundled payments, but when multiple specialists and providers are part of a patient’s experience they will often send multiple bills. For instance, if a patient is examining the cost of a surgical procedure they have to consider whether or not the anesthesiologist, the physician and their home health provider will charge them separately.

  1. Insurance payers have different pricing set for different care providers

Understanding what a patient in a high-deductible health plan is responsible for as far as charges versus an uninsured patient or someone electing to pay out-of-pocket really varies. On the same note, different insurance payers have varying contracted rates with care providers, so determining true costs across the bar gets confusing.


On, we list clear self-pay prices, meaning the price a patient would pay if they were electing to pay 100% out-of-pocket without insurance. More payers are looking for ways to reward their people for shopping around for lower priced options however, so we can also serve as a solution for those payers who have large populations of patients in high-deductible plans.

Transparency in health care can seem overwhelming, but we have taken steps to eliminate the roadblocks discussed above in the following ways:

  1. We include all fees in one price. This means no bills being sent to patients down the road for facility fees or interpretation fees.
  2. We have created a grading system for all of our providers in order to eliminate bias, grading providers on over 50 key points including everything from accreditations to technology to wait times to convenient parking.
  3. We have not added surgical procedures to our website (yet) but when we do, the payments will be bundled for patients. Save On Medical will then worry about divvying up payment among specialists. The simpler for the patient, the better.

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