CashMD launches price transparency tool

Users can search for the price of a procedure at providers in their area and then book an appointment through the app.
By Laura Lovett
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With a focus on healthcare cost transparency, CashMD is launching a new platform that will show consumers the expense of various procedures at local medical providers before they book an appointment. 

Patients are able to search for a certain medical service and see the cost of the service along with the provider location. They will also be able to book an appointment with the provider through the platform. The tool is based on a cash pay model, which means that instead of going through insurance, the patient pays the agreed upon amount in cash for the service.

WHY IT MATTEERS

Healthcare expenses are on the rise in the U.S. For example, the UnitedHealth Group recently released a report outlining how the annual cost of hospital inpatient services for privately insured patients exceeded $200 billion in 2018 and is projected to exceed $350 billion in 2029. 

But there has been a push by the federal government for more price transparency. As of January 1, hospitals are required to post their prices online. However, this requirement saw a lot of pushback from provider organizations, which argued that this could cause confusion to insured patients because lower rates are often negotiated by the providers and payer organizations. 

THE TREND 

Due to the fact that patients are increasingly expected to take on more of the cost burden of their healthcare thanks to high deductible health plans and more expensive copays, individuals are now more aware of healthcare expenses and are taking more control. 

“Health is our most valuable asset, and healthcare expenses are some of the most significant expenses that many of us will face in our lifetime. Yet as consumers of healthcare we are really uninformed about what we are buying,” Sunita Desai, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, said at HIMSS19 in February. 

Digital health startups are starting to sprout up to help patients manage expense and understand the system. For example, AccessOne was designed to help patients with financing options, including low- and no-interest payment plans for people who are paying high deductibles and are in a bad financial situation. MedPilot is another patient financial engagement platform. 

ON THE RECORD 

"We are pleased to provide a solution to current healthcare system frustrations," Dr. Denny Brummett, founder of CashMD, said in a statement. "CashMD is a 'one stop shop' offering pricing that is fair and transparent, offering flexibility and expedience to American patients and the healthcare industry."