By Phillip Moyer, Nevada News Bureau: U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden, who has recently come under for her comments on negotiating with physicians for health care costs, today received some support from Dr. Kevin Peterson, who said negotiating is a realistic option for patients if they do so before the medical services are provided.
Petersen, who runs a Las Vegas practice called No Insurance Surgery that often negotiates with outside providers to help lower patients’ health care costs, did not directly address Lowden’s much-derided comments about trading chickens or painting houses for medical care.
However, he said on Nevada Newsmakers today that if patients are willing to pay using cash or credit card instead of going directly through their insurance company, they can call up doctors or hospitals before the medical service is needed and will likely be able to negotiate an appointment at a lowered cost.
“What I recommend doing is to look on the internet, find out what the Medicare going rate is for the type of service they’re looking for, and then kind of use that as a base for what their target is for negotiating the price,” said Peterson.
“For example, if a patient is willing to pay 20 percent more than what Medicare pays them for an office visit, that’s a pretty reasonable price,” he said.
Petersen said that a lot of such bargaining does take place in the medical world and is necessary for patients who don’t have insurance companies negotiating lower prices for them.
“Patients need to have access to health care and to surgery, and when there’s an open, free market for this sort of thing, it tends to drive prices down,” he said.
“With competition, doctors and hospitals can’t just charge whatever they want to charge – they have to charge a reasonable rate, one that patients can afford, and one that makes sense,” he said.