Shopping for Medical Care

If you can bargain hunt for other things, why not medical services?

POSTED: 03:20 PM CST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 09:15 AM CST Nov 15, 2013 
(img1)11.14.13 AK Negotiating medical bills
WICHITA, Kan. -

High medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in America. Patients get their medical services and often don't think much about the cost until it's too late.

But just like bargain hunting can save you money on a new television, shopping for the best prices on exams, tests and procedures can keep your bills lower.

Dr. Jeffrey Rice operates a website called healthcarebluebook.com. Just as the Kelley Blue Book helps consumers find a fair price for a car -- his site helps them shop for a “fair price” for medical services.

Dr. Rice says the facility costs for testing, blood work and surgery can have significant price variances.

“Depending on where you go for an MRI, for example, you may pay $700 at one in network facility or $3000 or more at another," he says.

The key tips:

*Stay in network
*Patients who pay cash in lieu of insurance may find even lower prices.
*The challenge is making the phone calls.

"My recommendation to all patients is if a provider will not tell you their price before you get care, that's probably not a provider that deserves your business," says Rice.