I was tipped off about this paragraph in the NYT and it should blow everyone’s mind. The story was about how a hospital that is serving mostly the poor is doing what it has to do to survive. Buried in the middle was this nugget:
On average, hospitals across the country charge private patients about 44 percent more than patients on Medicare and Medicaid. The uninsured — who don’t have the clout to negotiate lower fees — must pay a sticker price that includes a 220 percent markup over costs, on average.
Personally, I have seen this even higher. I have seen lab cost go 1000 percent over cost.
Someone needs to create a self pay company that negotiates for us. Those of us with high deductibles could join and the new company would negotiate with all the hospitals, labs, specialists, etc. just like the insurance companies do. Once they get the prices, they give us a list and we go where we want. They would only need to take 2 or 3%, like a credit card company, and they would make a mint.