Oregonians could have saved 28 percent on their health procedures last year if they’d shopped for the best price, according to a new study from the Portland cost transparency company HealthSparq.
People with health insurance don’t usually shop the best cost on procedures like an MRI or hip replacement.
But over the last five years, insurance deductions have increased from around $300 a year to $3,000 a year. HealthSparq CEO Scott Decker said that increase is pushing people to shop more.
He estimates 11 percent of unnecessary spending in overall health care costs in Oregon could be eliminated by shopping.
“You can find even with your insurance, three, four or five times variation in price. So we need to be conscious consumers of health care, just like we are of anything else we shop for,” Decker said.
The HealthSparq study found patients could save 5 percent by shopping for tests and surgical procedures; 1 percent by shopping for medications; and 5 percent by using telehealth — that is, contacting a doctor over a video call service like Skype.
Such savings would amount to about $90 per person, per month.
The HealthSparq report used data from 237,000 people, who accounted for more than 500,000 cost estimates during 2015.
HealthSparq's shopping applications is embedded in 70 health plans across the U.S. and allows comparison shopping within network.