Cyber Healthcare Offers Big Savings
In the USA new companies offering cash-only medical services on the Internet are targeting consumers who want to take control of their healthcare. Two of these start-ups are MedicalDiscounts.com and Simplecare.com, which offer Web-surfers discounts on medical services.
These medical locator sites are based on the premise that the Internets borderless boundaries can eliminate the medical aid middlemen. Consumers, who are unhappy with their medical aid funds, or who are unable to obtain medical insurance, can search for more healthcare options on the Net.
MedicalDiscount.com claim to save patients up to 70 percent of the usual cost of surgery, and as 30 percent off the cost of a visit to the doctors office, simply by choosing a health care provider from the companys Web page. The discounts are available because the sites providers agree to offer cash paying customers their best possible prices. So far, the company claims, 3,000 providers have signed on and about 1,500 customers per month are using the service. Customers can choose a doctor by practice specialty and by geographic area.
Likewise, Simplecare.com enables consumers to find a doctor online and claims to reduce costs to both patients and doctors. Patients save money by paying at the time of the visit, which eliminates billing, coding and paperwork, thereby reducing the providers cost. This saving is passed on to the patient. Simlecare.com has signed up 500 providers in Washington State and dozens more across the USA, including primary care physicians and specialists.
The new companies are in the process of expanding countrywide and both claim to thoroughly check the credentials of all doctors who sign up.
Carl Halpern, a healthcare consultant at Managed Care Solutions in Carlifonia, is optimistic about the future of these cash-only doctor locators. In his opinion the sites should appeal to especially two groups. The first is ageing Baby Boomers, who will turn to locator sites to prevent paying ever-higher insurance premiums. The second is younger people with few health problems, who may not want to subsidies a lot of unhealthy people by paying high monthly premiums to medical aid funds.
Note: This article is an edited version of an article by Steve Heimoff originally published at ehealtcare.com on 11 August 2000.
Publish date: 15 April 2020
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.