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Angie’s List Helps Consumers Manage Health Care Costs

Posted Nov 04 2010 2:39pm

The following guest article was contributed by Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List .

When I first founded Angie’s List 15 years ago, I tried to help consumers find the best local home and property experts. Before I knew it, Angie’s List was offering consumer reviews in about 350 service categories in every major American city. A few years ago, responding to member demand, we began accepting reports on 150 health and wellness categories, as well.

Most health care consumers are more aware of their actual medical costs these days, thanks to health insurance changes. Angie’s List members, already conditioned to research what others are saying about local contractors before they hire, are applying those same investigative skills to health care providers. And they’re coming around to negotiating health care costs, as well.

Many consumers – including Angie’s List members – don’t know they can negotiate health care costs. More than half of respondents to a recent Angie's List member poll said they’d never tried to negotiate medical bills, but 74 percent of those who did were successful; some ended up paying less than half of the original charge.

This isn't a matter of trying to avoid paying a fair cost for health care . It's making sure you're paying the correct amount and accessing options that are available. Most of our members said they would happily shop around if they knew what to look for. So we partnered with Healthcare Blue Book to make that process easy for them. Knowing what the insurers will pay the doctor is key information to have before starting a negotiation.

Obviously,patients shouldn’t choose a doctor based on price alone. We’re working hard to offer reliable information on local doctors, based on real-life consumer experiences, so that part of the story can be seen as well.

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