Health insurance is mind-boggling enough to shop for, and most of us don't even have the correct information to make the right choices. That's according to a recent episode of the surprisingly lively health policy podcast An Arm and a Leg. However, the show also found that when we've got the data laid out for us in an easy-to-understand format, we'll choose what's best for us a vast majority of the time.
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Now remember that once you've sorted out your insurance plan, you may still have to shop around for the best price on doctors and individual procedures. We tend not to use the skills we've honed while choosing a new phone or a pair of jeans on health care, even though we should. Luckily, that's where Healthcare Bluebook comes in.
Healthcare Bluebook is a free and simple directory that helps patients compare prices for health services. You simply enter your location, select what specialty and procedure you need, and the website will generate a range of prices for what's available in your area. Even better, it will highlight what a fair price is in your region, and show who's near it.
Most of us have been surprised, unpleasantly, by a final medical bill, and even if all the insurance ins and out get sorted, your plan might still be overcharging you. Price, of course, isn't the only way to shop for health care. You'll also want to be sure you're satisfied with the standard of care on offer. Still, better to go in with your eyes open — and the more good information at your fingertips, the better.