Negotiating Your Healthcare Costs?

A new innovative start up, known as Castlight Health, strives to bring transparency to the healthcare industry’s pricing structure.  The company, founded in 2008 in San Francisco, aims to arm customers’ with valuable information aiding in healthcare purchasing decisions.  Consider it a virtual priceline.com for the healthcare world; searching out quotes in a specific geographical region for further comparison. 

Already gathering an impressive amount of investors and media attention, Castlight Health is on the way to substantial national growth.  With the ultimate goal of transforming healthcare, the company has begun by partnering with major national organizations to offer their services to employees under a company-wide insurance plan.  Using a desktop or mobile app, employees are able to search their healthcare networks to find the most reasonably priced option within their benefits.

So, what does this mean for healthcare organizations?  As Castlight Health continues on with increased adoption, consumers will become more aware of price variations between providers.  With procedures varying anywhere in the range of tens of thousands of dollars between organizations; this exposure can be very undesirable.  Armed with this new information, patients have been challenging their doctors in regards to major pricing differences.

In many cases, patients make their healthcare decisions based upon location, convenience and word of mouth referrals.  For many organizations, these factors serve as the lifeline of their patient base.  With a new dimension to the decision making process; prices may soon vary even more greatly.  It will be interesting to see if Castlight Health continues to gain speed and if so, how healthcare organizations adjust their pricing structures to maintain market share.

Reference:  http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/26/health/patients-can-now-compare-medical-fees-online-to-lower-costs/?ref=latest

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