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Arizona Web Site Puts Imaging Up For Bids

June 21, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Practice Management
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An Arizona family doctor has started a Web site that offers deeply discounted prices for imaging. If the prices aren’t low enough, then patients can bid for even better deals.

Scott Hastings, a family doctor in Show Low, named the site BidOnHealth.com. Show Low is in eastern Arizona, away from the booming metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Many of his patients are working-class people with either no health insurance or insurance with high deductibles. He told The Arizona Republic:

Person after person can’t afford health care. It’s a large group without insurance, and I really needed to negotiate on behalf of this group.

He had been negotiating anyway. Many of his patients who needed advanced imaging or laboratory tests balked at the out-of-pocket cost. So Hastings spent hours on the phone haggling with imaging clinics and labs to negotiate prices the patients could live with. He decided to spin off that part of his job into an online business.

Since it launched in January, BidOnHealth has contracted with four Arizona radiology companies with a total of 32 sites in metro Phoenix and 4 in Tucson, plus a Los Angeles-area company that has 30 sites in Southern California. It also has a contract with North Carolina-based Lab Corp. for lab tests.

Hastings said his contracted rates are typically less than the providers’ prices for cash customers and sometimes beat insurers’ negotiated rates.

The Arizona Republic article cites one woman with high-deductible insurance. She complained of neck pain, and her doctor ordered an MRI. A radiology office near her home quoted her a price of $3,200. Through BidOnHealth, she found a Phoenix clinic offering the MRI for $550. She bid $350. The clinic accepted.

The attraction for clinics is the chance to fill empty slots in their schedules. In that way, BidOnHealth is similar to CarePilot, a Colorado-based Web site we reported on in March. BidOnHealth’s largest Arizona imaging provider is SimonMed Imaging, which has 29 locations in the Phoenix area. Carol Gonzalez, SimonMed’s director of marketing and sales, told The Republic:

Some centers are not as busy as others, and they can potentially get more volume from this. There is no additional staff for us, no additional cost. It’s another way and avenue to bring someone to SimonMed who could be a potential customer for us down the road.

Related seminar: The Business of Radiology

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2 Responses to “Arizona Web Site Puts Imaging Up For Bids”

  1. Thang on June 22nd, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    A great way to bring patients and providers together and get rid of third party insurance payers. Just like a consumer products. You provide good services and products with reasonable price, you win.

    Great way to take back healthcare profession.

  2. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Web Site Allows Radiology Shopping, Booking on December 18th, 2012 at 10:15 am

    […] Similar sites have been sprouting, including two we’ve reported on, CarePilot and BidOnHealth (although something seems to have gone awry with the latter […]