(WREG-TV) Medibid.com is an online auction site for medical services.
Patients seek medical treatment and doctors bid to provide care.
Samuel Knisely is the president of Advantage Business Solutions, which offers healthcare benefits consulting.
“So, I thought let me try it myself and then I could be a testimony to my clients myself,” said Knisely.
Knisely’s 10-year-old daughter, Annelise, was born with one kidney. She needs a renal ultrasound, blood work and urinalysis every other year.
By using Medibid, they estimate they’re saving $700.
Knisely said, “We were able to use a local imaging center, a testing center that did a tremendous job. They actually took a lot more pictures than we are used to.”
Medibid functions with cash payments made directly from patient to physician.
They say this allows doctors to discount their fees and gives patients transparency about the cost of the service.
For a fee, patients can request bids from any geographical region and doctors can create a profile that lists their experience and qualifications.
Although Knisely’s experience was positive, some are questioning whether it is smart to encourage competitive pricing on healthcare.
“In making the relationship between the provider and the patient a market-based one, in the way the website does, we might be concerned first and foremost that the relationship is a financial one,” said Dr. Amy MacArthur, who is with Highpoint University.
She added, “It commodifies healthcare to a point where I think it`s not necessarily regarded as a shared-inherent social good, but rather something someone is entitled to based on their capacity to pay for it.”
Medibid ensures that physicians who offer services through the site are licensed and in good standing.
However, it does not check with state medical boards for complaints or verify they are board certified in their specialty. Patients are encouraged to do their own research.
“Even if our own physician referred us to someone, we should check out that referral because that is our physician`s opinion,” said Knisely.
“Well, I suppose there is always a risk whether it is in the yellow pages or in the insurance directory that they could do that or on Medibid for that matter,” said Ralph Weber, Medibid.
Knisely intends to recommend Medibid to his clients and use it again for Annelise.