Pay cash for healthcare and save a fortune

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Because of the skyrocketing costs for healthcare due to Obamacare, it is now far cheaper to simply pay cash for many medical procedures, bypassing health insurance completely.

“This is one of the dirty little secrets of healthcare,” said Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “If your insurance has a high deductible, you should always ask the cash price.”

Cash prices are intended for uninsured patients — and are frequently still much higher than insured rates. But cash prices for many common procedures have come down thanks to changing regulations and consumers increasingly being able to shop around for cheaper providers. Blood tests can be performed at CVS MinuteClinics and other pharmacies, for instance. Or as I reported a few years ago, MRIs are available from independent providers for as little as $300, whereas many hospitals will charge thousands of dollars.

The article’s main example is the case where the cost for blood tests, through insurance, was more than $80, while the cash price was only $15, and was still sufficient for the lab to make a profit.

One comment

  • Edward

    From the article: “Keep in mind, however, that any cash payment will do nothing to help you reach your deductible, leaving you vulnerable in the event of a major illness.”

    Vulnerable? The extra cost, in the case of the blood test, is about $15 per test (around $60 for the set of tests). A certainty of saving $200 vs. having to pay that amount anyway in the remote event of a major illness? That does not sound terribly vulnerable to me.

    I expect that over the decades a person could save thousands of dollars paying cash rather than relying on the expensive insurance. And save hundreds of thousands more by not buying the expensive insurance in the first place.

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