WBUR

Social Networking Site Allows Users To Compare Health Care Costs

BOSTON — In the debate about how to control health care spending consumers are often caught in the middle. Employers are buying plans with higher deductibles and co-payments or are limiting where patients can go to save money.

Insurers and health care experts are telling patients to spend money wisely and make informed choices about where they go for care. The problem is, it’s really hard find out how much a test or procedure costs and even harder to figure out who provides the best care.

WBUR has started a online network for patients called Healthcare Savvy. Martha Bebinger, who manages the site, joined Morning Edition Friday to discuss the network.

“The model [for the website] is Facebook for patients,” Bebinger explained. “So people go on, they register, they say a little about their condition and situation. They post stories, they ask questions, they share information. And then my role there is to help people find answers to the questions that they pose.”

On Healthcare Savvy, patients discuss topics ranging from confusing medical bills to how deductibles work to the cost of ambulance rides.

“It’s really about people realizing how much money they spend on health care and trying to do that in a more conscientious way,” Bebinger said. “Trying to get the right care and get good quality but trying to figure out how to do that.”

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  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    Yeah,  right. 

    A sick patient is  going to  a website to see how they can save money for all the nameless faceless strangers who’s  soaring health insurance premiums are paying the sick patient’s bills. C’mon, Martha.  Health insurance premiums are a sunk cost. When it comes to consuming, except for copays and deductibles, health care costs feel free for the patient.  Those newly “free” preventive visits under ObamaCare make add to these hidden costs. The high and soaring costs of American sick care is all determined in the by backroom deals between providers and insurers and out of the reach of any feckless WBUR website. 

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