In a nod to consumers who are increasingly using online services to buy just about whatever they need (or desire), a website called MediBid.com offers a service connecting patients who are willing to pay cash, with doctors and health care facilities who are willing to bid for their business. About 6,000 physicians, surgery centers, and even some hospitals have registered with the website to become “bidders,” and about 120,000 health care consumers, who are called “seekers,” have used MediBid.com to date.
Bidders pay $49.99 per year and in exchange they may bid up to 12 times during the year in one category, or they may opt to pay $249.99 per year ($24.90 per month) for unlimited bidding in an unlimited number of categories. Seekers pay $25 per medical request or they can sign up for one year at the rate of $4.95 per month, which allows them an unlimited number of medical requests for one year. Medical facilities that become bidders are charged based on the number of physicians, ranging from $1,000 per year for 1 to 10 registered physicians to $5,000 for 76 or more registered physicians.
MediBid.com may appeal to seekers who have Healthcare Savings Accounts, have high-deductible health care plans, or are self-pays. MediBid.com may appeal to bidders who benefit from a set, upfront cash payment instead of dealing with the paperwork necessary to bill patients’ health care plans, and then waiting for payments that are trending lower every year. Seekers may also benefit from not being limited to receiving medical services from physicians or health care facilities that participate in their health care plan – seekers are provided a choice and can make their own health care decisions without the restrictions placed on them by their health care plans and insurers.
Some critics of the MediBid.com model of seeking and providing medical services point out that MediBid.com only requires physician bidders to provide their medical license number when they register with MediBid.com – it is up to seekers to do their due diligence in checking out the qualifications, competency, and history of the bidders with whom they contract.
Others suggest that you get what you pay for – the cheapest medical services are not always the best choice (the bidder may be a bidder because he has higher complication rates, which may not be included in the medical care purchased, or the services are provided at facilities that may not be subject to the same scrutiny as accredited hospitals or are less regulated health care facilities (such as some physician-owned surgery centers).
If a patient is not satisfied with the medical services from a bidder that was arranged through MediBid.com, they may have limited recourse, whereas patients who receive care through their health insurance plan may have greater opportunity or resources to resolve their complaints and issues.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured or suffered other substantial harm as a result of medical negligence in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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