How Paying Your Doctor in Cash Could Save You Money | Consumer Reports

Healthcare providers make up for charging lower prices other ways, Kampine says. Cutting out the insurer as the middleman can significantly reduce the provider’s administrative and billing costs. And healthcare providers who get cash upfront don’t have to chase down the money later, either from a patient or the insurance company.  “It’s a much easier transaction in a cash pay environment,” Kampine says.

Where You Can Save
Reduced fees for paying cash are more common for diagnostic procedures, such as CAT scans, X-rays, and ultrasounds, but cash payers can also often get a better deal for certain lab work, prescription drugs, out-patient surgeries, and therapeutic services, such as physical therapy, Kampine says.

Some imaging centers even offer off-peak discounts for patients who pay cash and use services after traditional business hours, say, getting an MRI after 7 p.m. “It’s like surge pricing by Uber,” says Jeanne Pinder, CEO of ClearHealthCosts, a business she founded that researches healthcare prices and allows you to compare costs for specific procedures at different providers around the U.S. The site’s PriceCheck tool gets data on insurance-negotiated prices, Medicare rates, and cash prices directly from healthcare providers, as well as from patient crowdsourcing.

The differences in price can be significant, Pinder says. A woman in Louisiana who shared her story with ClearHealthCosts reported paying $766 for an echocardiogram using her insurance. She later learned that the cash price for the same procedure was almost half as much: around $400.

Read complete article here:

How Paying Your Doctor in Cash Could Save You Money – Consumer Reports.