Innovation: new websites aim to cut costs

Came across a couple of innovative health care websites (read Health 2.0) in the last couple of days.

The first is SharedFunding, an employer focused company that manages high deductible health plans for companies. The website says:

Through our research we determined that when an employer purchases a high deductible health plan, and provides a benefit for the employee “below” that deductible, the employer appreciates significant savings.

SharedFunding has already saved employers a phenomenal amount of money by allowing them to appreciate strong benefits at lower costs. And, our technology and service liberates you and your employees from the complex web of healthcare claims processing.

The second is a startup from Minnesota called Carol. The Star Tribune has an article about the new company. The Health Care Blog has an interview with CEO. The company provides a marketplace where consumers can quickly self-diagnose and then select a provider that will provide treatment. From the Star Tribune:

Ankle pain? Click on the matching body part and two options pop up. For $199, doctors at Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists will check out your ankle, review your medical history and recommend treatment. TRIA Orthopaedic Center lists a similar package for $213 — and a reminder that they are the team doctors for the Vikings and Timberwolves. What did patients think? Read user reviews. Will your health plan pay? Tap in your details and find out.

The website is easy to navigate. It’s a great idea. I think the best part is that it allows consumers to make a health care choice based upon price.  OK, something I like even better is this notion of bundled services.  Providers who use Carol list their services in one nicely-priced package.

The website allows consumers to compare services by different providers and lists exactly what the price covers. They do have a section that contains a quality statement by each provider–this could be improved. So far, not too many providers have signed up, but I think it is only a matter of time for providers to take action as more consumers start using the service.

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