Negotiating cash payments with medical providers outside the managed-care realm can save a bundle.
Most employers are already implementing a variety of strategies to contain health-care costs, such as restructuring benefits, establishing coverage tiers and opting for value-based purchasing or private health-insurance exchanges. CFOs should also, however, look at market-based solutions.
In particular, moving to a cash-pricing model for elective health-care services — that is, virtually anything other than procedures in response to sudden emergencies, like heart bypass surgery in response to a heart attack — has great potential to curb costs. A vast majority of medical procedures are elective.
Cash pricing refers to a payment for medical services that is negotiated between a patient and a provider. Whereas contract rates in PPO health plans are negotiated annually between payers and providers, reflecting the relative market power of each party in a given area, with cash pricing, providers bid on a specific procedure for a specific patient in competition with other providers.
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