A local company has applied the Priceline model to health care.
"Many Amercians are finding that their insurance does not cover routine office visits and procedures," PriceDoc's website says. "Finding the best-case price on the Web is easy and makes sense."
The site, which is free to use, claims to benefit both health care providers as well as patients. Doctors' offices and labs get paid with cash up-front and creates saving for consumers, according to PriceDoc.com.
PriceDoc helps customers find local providers, schedule appointments and do finanacial comparisons for services. Customers can select from multiple categories, including dental, medical, vision and cosmetic procedures, as well as weight loss, mental health and others.
So how does it work? Patients can select a procedure they want to have performed, such as a a mammogram, and include a Zip code to narrow the search results. The site then pulls up search results -- with the PriceDoc providers list showing first. Unfortunately, the closest mammagram PriceDoc provider is in Denver, a distance of 830 miles. That provider allows users to "request your cash price," a la Priceline, then the site lists four other PriceDoc providers that offer the procedure for $99. After that grouping are listed several providers that are local but are not PriceDoc providers.
People looking for a Botox procedure, though, were better off, at least in terms of search results, with several local providers listed in the PriceDoc network, including one who allowed patients to "request your cash price."
Patients can also look at pages on the site that list doctors' credentials and specialties.