Sold to the Highest Bidder

CHW LogoImagine if William Shatner were your doctor.  Crazy, no?  What about buying your health care from him?  After all, he has been the face of PriceLine.com, where you can bid on hotels, flights, cruises, etc.  Almost anything but healthcare.

Until now.  Along comes MediBid™, an online auction for medical care including physician services, hospital stays, durable equipment, etc.  Sounds like something from The Onion, but it’s real.  According to their Web site, “MediBid offers cash paying patients seeking care the ability to find the medical practitioner who best fits that patient’s set of criteria.  Criteria that can include price, location, time-to-treatment…. even professional credentials.  Unlike traditional network sources, your healthcare decisions are in your hands, not someone else’s.”

Prospective patients enter a request for a procedure such as MRI or knee replacement, and providers may then submit bids for that procedure.  MediBid charges fees for both requestors and bidders, but otherwise does not get involved in the transaction.  They do not handle any payments, and make it clear that they do not do any background checking or verification of a provider’s credentials.  So let the buyer beware.

It sounds radical, maybe even a little creepy.  And I’m not sure this is truly taking off; one article from October 2013 says that since its founding in 2010 MediBid has connected 1800 providers and patients.  But Star Trek communication devices and talking computers seemed far-fetched in the days when William Shatner played Captain Kirk.  Let’s not laugh this one off just yet.

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