The cost of health care in the United States is a hot-button issue that continues to draw both consternation and optimism. The latter takes the form of enterprising companies who hope to revolutionize the way Americans pay for their healthcare. The latest company, Sidecar Health, seeks to eliminate the paperwork and go-betweens and give consumers a fairer price for their medical costs with their new prepaid medical card.
A New Take on Healthcare
Sidecar Health is the brainchild of Peter Quigley, who created the company after having to pay over $1,000 for an MRI for his son. When asking if he could pay in cash, he was shocked to learn the cash cost for the service was $330, as opposed to the $1,300 insurance billing costs.
According to Quigley, Sidecar Health is different in that it lets patients pay their doctors directly – eliminating the bureaucracy that comes from health insurance.
The value of the system he says is that “the providers, the doctors, don’t have to deal with the back-and-forth of a traditional insurance company. They don’t have to argue about if some things are covered, how it’s coded, how it’s billed. The doctor just gets paid. It’s cheaper for the doctor, so it’s cheaper for the patient.”
How Does Sidecar Health Work?
Sidecar Health works through a combination of a smartphone app and a prepaid card. Using the app, customers can select the amount of coverage they want. While the pricing varies by state, Quigley states that consumers have the final say in how much coverage they require.
The standard plan costs $199 per month for $25 in health coverage. Premium plans, on the other hand, costs $279 per month for $2 million in coverage.
Once they decide on a plan, patients can see almost any healthcare provider they want. Since Sidecar operates under the principle of paying the doctor directly, rather than going through insurance, it provides members with a Visa prepaid medical card. Members can see what each doctor charges through the app, with over 170,000 procedures covered.
Patients simply load money to their card and use it to pay for their medical care. Sidecar Health then sends a bill that users add to the app. This allows members to know what portion of the costs their health care plan pays.
Other Medical Finance Options
Sidecar Health and their prepaid medical card follows on the heels of the launch of the SmartHealth PayCard. SmartHealth claims their card is the first medical credit card, as it’s sole purpose is for paying medical costs. In this regard, the card differs significantly from the CareCredit Rewards Mastercard. That card provides points and special financing for select medical procedures and veterinary costs but also earns rewards points on everyday purchases.
About Sidecar Health
Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions is a California-based healthcare solutions company that offers coverage throughout the United States. The company aims to change healthcare by reducing the role of insurance intermediaries and increasing transparency in medical pricing. For more information, please visit sidecarhealth.com.
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