Health Vocabulary: Bundled Care

Woman in glasses reading book comes up with idea

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Americans love bundles. Babies are bundles of joy, and we all like to save a bundle, or even better, make a bundle. Now, bundles have been brought to healthcare, in response to the frustrating and unpredictable medical billing process.

Think back on the last time you had a medical event. How many bills showed up afterwards? Sometimes, you receive bills from people you never saw – maybe from a lab company who you’ve never interacted with in person, an anesthesia group, a surgery group, or a consulting physician you never met. In the end, you can end up with multiple bills for one service, from providers whose services you never even knew you were getting.

Bundled care is a solution to that broken billing system. It means having one transparent, comprehensive price for your procedure that includes all of the related fees – even those phantom providers.

Bundling healthcare is a relatively new idea. Traditionally, healthcare employs fee-for-service line-item billing. Every provider contributing to a procedure invoices separately and collects payment from the patient in their own way. Bundling means that related fees are billed together, and then each of the contributing providers has their fee distributed to them out of the patient’s lump payment. For healthcare consumers, it means one bill, with a transparent price. How’s that for a bundle of joy?


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