Physicians and hospitals overcharge uninsured self-pay patients 2.5 what they charge insurance companies, and until now there has been nothing that individual consumers can do to avoid this overbilling. There simply was no place for an individual to go where she can search for a doctor, shop for the specific medical service needed, compare physician training and prices, schedule an appointment and save money. A new company SnapHealth located in Houston, Texas is trying to change all of that.
Health care prices charged by hospitals and physicians for care provided to uninsured and out-of-network patients are more than 2.5 times what insurance companies pay and more than 3 times their actual costs. Unlike insurance companies, individuals are not able to negotiate a fair price. Physicians do not obtain "informed financial consent" for their fees from self-pay patients before providing treatment. An unconscious patient or someone in need of urgent care simply is not in a situation where a meaningful discussion about the cost of care can be had. Patients do not have any information about the physicians' actual costs, and they do not have any ability to compare prices between providers. The law of implied contracts provides a fair way to price health care to people without insurance and prevent overbilling.