Thursday, January 26, 2012

Markets in Everything: LowestMed App

From MedGadget -- "LowestMed is a discount prescription service that shops for the lowest price for prescription medications.  The idea is that you enter the medication prescribed, and whether you are at the doctor’s office or out looking for a refill, the app tells you (and shows you, via GPS), the pharmacy with the best deal on that prescription."

11 Comments:

At 1/26/2012 10:12 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

at one time, we had an investment in a company that did this for many sort of medical treatment and worked through insurers, splitting the savings.

eg:

there there may be 15 places to get an MRI in dallas. the hospitals tend to be most expensive. imaging centers in strip malls tend to be cheapest. the difference in price was literally ofter $800 vs $5000.

the company would provide the insurer with "preferred" centers and pricing and the insurer would then offer reduced deductibles/copay to patients to encourage them to use these centers.

this attempts to emulate the consumer behavior you get when they actually face costs.

if you have a $500 deductible, you may not care at all if it's $5000 vs $800. you go to whatever's close/has a good appointment time.

but if you were spending your own cash, you'd think hard about driving 15 minutes to save $4000.

the medical industry (particularly high cost hospitals) is very much opposed to such cost comparison and try to make it as difficult for insurers as they can while trying to block the entry of low cost providers to the field.

the incentives in the health care industry as such a mess it's a wonder that it's not worse than it is.

 
At 1/26/2012 12:46 PM, Blogger cluemeister said...

Pretty soon we won't need this app, because all medicine will be free!

 
At 1/26/2012 12:48 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

it's worse than that Morg. In Va... some Medical devices like MRIs and other services have to get permission from the state... they have to get a certificate of "need".

and the folks who have the existing equipment will ask for a hearing and go lobby against the new provider and the state will often respond by saying there will be "too many" of something and deny the request.

Keep in mind..this is Virginia which is supposed to be one of the more responsibly run states.

Further... there is no law in Va that requires hospitals and health care providers to provide a price list of their services - much less electronically so that an online comparison could be performed.

I note that the requirement to provide prices is one of the key part of the Singapore Health System but it's not done voluntarily, it's required by the government.

The reality [apparently] is that few health care providers will provide price lists of their services without the govt forcing them to.

 
At 1/26/2012 4:57 PM, Blogger Marko said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/26/2012 5:05 PM, Blogger Marko said...

The problem is that most people have insurance so they don't care what it costs - they will go to the most convenient place.

Imagine you had food insurance paid by your employer - wouldn't you always shop at gourmet grocery stores or just go out to fancy restaurants all the time?!

 
At 1/26/2012 10:08 PM, Blogger Darren D'Orlando said...

True, however, I have insurance and have used this app. The price was cheaper than my insurance.

 
At 1/26/2012 10:09 PM, Blogger Darren D'Orlando said...

True, however, I have insurance and have used this app. The price was cheaper than my insurance.

 
At 1/27/2012 6:06 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Do you do a world-wide search?? I've found that all medications are a "generic" somewhere in the world and you can buy a years supply for a 90 day co-pay in the US.

 
At 1/31/2012 5:55 PM, Blogger ChadT said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/31/2012 5:57 PM, Blogger ChadT said...

Consumers pay for drugs eventually when they have insurance, it is just masked behind copays and is seen in rising payments each year. The only way to really save money is to take control and create competition in the marketplace. Transparency, which this LowestMed app provides, is the first step!

 
At 2/05/2012 10:23 AM, Blogger FREE-FUNDRAISERS.com said...

We offer the same to our Free-RX-Plans so that members know they are truly getting the lowest prices, so anyway you can save money is important in this recession, even if you have coverage, why get ripped off.

 

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