An auction for medical procedures? MediBid breaks new ground in healthcare

I’ve mentioned MediBid in the past, but I don’t know that I’ve ever explained what it is or how it works. Which is a major oversight on my part, because they’re one of the most innovative companies around catering to self-pay patients, whether they’re uninsured, have high-deductible  health insurance, or have ‘comprehensive’ insurance that just won’t cover something. They also address one of the most significant needs of self-pay patients, helping to save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars off of hospital and surgical bills (other, more basic medical services can be obtained through the site as well).

MediBid allows patients to enter information on the medical procedure they need onto their web site (securely and anonymously, of course), where doctors and medical facilities around the country that have signed up with Medibid can see the requested procedure and submit a bid that gives the price for which they will perform the procedure. The patient then reviews the bid, considers price and other factors including quality and location, and contacts the provider or facility they’ve chosen. 

MediBid’s web site explains the process in greater detail:

Create Your Profile – Answer some basic health questions (height, weight, allergies, etc) and create a user ID and password.

Create a Request – Ask for what you need. If you aren’t sure or don’t have a diagnosis yet, ask for a consultation with a specialist. Requests can be for anything from an annual checkup with a new family physician or an MRI to bring to your current ear nose and throat doctor, to something more complex like a total knee replacement surgery or Lasik eye surgery. Whatever your medical need is, you can make a request for it on MediBid.

Collect Bids – Review the physicians and facilities that were matched with you. If you see any you like, you can ask them to submit a Bid on your medical request, or you can wait a few days and see who gives you a Bid on their own. Your Bid will include some very basic information, including the cost and what is or is not included in that price… After looking over your Bid, you can review the profile of the physician or facility that gave you the Bid and decide if they are the right match for you

Accept a Bid – When you find the physician or facility that is the right choice for you, click “Accept this Bid”, and you will instantly be provided with the Bidder’s contact information. They will also be provided with yours. Now that you have the phone number to contact the doctor, call them and schedule an appointment.

Connect – Make an appointment with the specialist, and pay the doctor at the time of your visit. You already know how much the visit or treatment is going to cost you, so walk in confident that you are going to see a great doctor at the best value for their services…

In many ways MediBid is a domestic medical tourism service, but there’s no requirement that it involve travel – the ‘winning’ bidder might very well be in your home community or state.

MediBid was recently profiled on KATU television in Portland, Oregon.

Medical costs too high? Some doctors will bid for your business

Next item on the auction block: A brand new colonoscopy.

Doctors across the country are using bid-for-care websites like to attract business and save customers money.

“A lot of procedures are a lot more affordable than big insurance companies want us to think they are,” Medibid CEO Ralph Weber told KATU…

…people like George Law say insurance just isn’t affordable.

“I do not have health insurance. I’m one of the many who don’t. It’s not because I don’t want it, I just can’t afford it,” Law said.

Law, from Chicago, requested a colonoscopy on Medibid, and doctors around the country “bid” to perform it.

The winner: Dr. Scott Gibson, practicing half a country away here in Oregon.

Gibson charges cash customers about $800 for a colonoscopy, a bargain compared to the $3,500 price tags Law was finding around Chicago…

Medibid claims it saves the average customer 50 percent.

One additional note, the article copied above seems to suggest that MediBid is one of several online sites that allow patients to bid out their medical service needs, but to the best of my knowledge MediBid is the only one. The closest I could find was,  but that site at this point appears to only offer lab testing and diagnostic imaging (which still makes it a valuable tool!), while MediBid offers a much fuller range of medical procedures. If there are any other sites out there like it, please let me know!

One of the primary challenges of self-pay patients is finding affordable providers of specialty, hospital, or surgical services. Thanks to MediBid, there is a new option for saving health care costs in this important area!

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