When Ann, a small business owner on a high deductible health plan, was referred to a cardiologist for important heart screenings, she faced enormous estimates for her care. Fortunately, she discovered MDsave, which not only saved her thousands of dollars but helped her navigate the complexities of today’s healthcare system.
“I’m a 61-year-old married woman living in the Midwest. I have two grown children—one married with a 7-year-old daughter, and one with special needs who lives in a wonderful residential home with many friends. I worked for SuperValu grocery distribution central region office for 11 years before they moved the offices out of state, leaving me without a job. So after that, I went to school and became a certified personal trainer, although instead, in 2016, my husband and I bought a small storage facility and we have been working in that business ever since.”
Questioning the System
“Because I no longer have insurance through my employer, I needed to purchase my insurance privately at a pretty steep monthly price (with a $6,000 deductible). My husband is on Medicare now, but before being on Medicare, he had some hip and shoulder issues that were bothering him so he pursued some solutions through his doctor and referrals. After two MRIs and physical therapy, the bill was in the $11,000 range. I mean, $700 an hour for physical therapy? It’s outrageous! We’d never questioned what the price would be for these procedures and had just had them done, paying mostly out of pocket. That was a mistake.”
Surprise Bills? No Thanks!
“When I turned 60, I had a bone density test done and was diagnosed with osteoporosis. It was a surprise as I’ve been pretty healthy my whole life; I wasn’t expecting anything, but that’s what happens when you turn 60, I guess! I chose to go the route of vitamins and supplements to combat it, as my insurance plan won’t allow another test for two years. We’ll see next year if what I’m doing is helping!
In the meantime, my primary care provider also asked me to have a cardiac CT calcium scoring done because of my high cholesterol. I asked how much it would cost, and I was told that upfront by my provider that it would be $49.95. So I said, ‘Fine, let’s do it.’ And then all of a sudden, I got a bill in the mail for an additional $182. I said, ‘No, no, no’ and I refused to pay it. Everyone kept telling me that it wasn’t a huge deal, but it wasn’t about the money—it was about the principle. You don’t tell somebody that something costs this amount and then charge them something else later. I fought that battle for a while. Fortunately I won, but it took a long time. It just really sucks, because these battles are left entirely to you, the patient. You don’t want it to affect your credit score, but not everyone has that kind of time.”
“A Fraction of What My Provider Was Charging”
“Based on test results from that screening, [my primary care provider] then suggested I have additional tests done and see a cardiologist. The cardiologist prescribed an exercise stress test and an echocardiogram, so before receiving care, I called to ask for pricing for these tests and was directed to their ‘priceline’ phone number. I left a message, and several days later they called me back and told me what the prices were. The echo would cost $4,719 and the exercise stress test would be $1,681.
So after getting those prices, I found the MDsave website and searched for the tests I needed to have done. I found both tests at AMITA Health (which is a very reputable medical facility in Illinois), and the prices were a fraction of what my provider was charging. The echo was $796, and the exercise stress test was $412. I know—it’s completely insane! With my high deductible plan, I would be paying entirely out of pocket, and I’d had no symptoms; the cardiologist just wanted to get a baseline for the future. So MDsave’s prices? I mean, there’s just no comparison.”
Five-Star Service All Around
“So I called AMITA to be sure that they would accept the MDsave vouchers and they said ‘Yes, absolutely.’ I then called the MDsave Patient Concierge Team to walk through what I needed to do, and they sent me an email with a link to purchase the procedures I needed. I went online and easily made my purchase. Then I printed out the email with my vouchers which also included the instructions to contact the provider to make an appointment. I made my appointment, and showed up and had the first stress test done. It was that simple!
After the first test, my cardiologist wanted me to have a combined echo and stress test instead of the echo test I had originally purchased. Grace [MDsave’s Associate Financial Services Manager] helped me transfer my voucher to the new test, which cost about $65 more than the original test. It was so easy to change my voucher to the correct procedure, and Grace was so helpful in walking me through the process!
Everyone that I interacted with at AMITA was great as well, from the nurses to the front office staff. I’m so glad that MDsave has qualified and reputable medical facilities to choose from, and I’m glad that these hospitals partner with MDsave to reach patients like me.
I’ve also been working with Amber [MDsave’s Healthcare Bundled Payments Manager] recently to apply my MDsave purchase to my deductible (since it was prepaid and hadn’t yet been run through my insurance). She was so helpful—I’ve had only positive experiences with MDsave employees and the website!”
Why Everyone Should Use MDsave
“I wonder how different healthcare pricing would be if everyone took the time to research the costs they are paying for the testing and treatments that they need. We all just trust our medical providers, but I’m not sure that they always have our best interests in mind when it comes to the cost. [MDsave] is the first step in things changing. It’s a brilliant model.
I’ll never have another procedure done without first checking MDsave. The website is so easy to use—you can price out exactly what you need. It’s so nice to be able to go and see what the price of medical procedures are, so you know for sure that you won’t be taken for a ride. Everyone should go to MDsave.com and see what they can save. This is the only way I’ll have medical care done moving forward—I’ll never go back. So thanks for being there for me!”