Around the nation, you’ll hear more and more conversations about new and vital health care shopping tools like the ones we offer. They allow people to make more educated decisions about their health care experience by comparing the cost and quality of medical treatments and those who provide them. But what you may not be hearing is how people are using these tools in real life.
We’re in a unique position to tell this important story thanks to a robust network of data from 67 health plans covering over 78 million lives. Nearly everyday, we discover something new and exciting to contribute to the conversation around shopping for health care. For instance, we know expecting moms are the most active HealthSparq users.
To find out why, we sat down for a Q&A session with Megan, an extraordinarily savvy expecting mom and HealthSparq user. Megan leveraged our tools to plan out her pregnancy care beginning in her first trimester, and ultimately, to feel more confident about her care. As you’ll discover below, she is a shining example of how shopping in health care can help deliver the most optimal health care experience.
How did you hear about HealthSparq and what prompted you to use the tools?
Megan: In my first trimester, I had an idea of who I wanted to be my OBGYN, but I wanted to see what was out there, not only to confirm I made the right choice with my OBGYN, but to get an idea of what to expect on my medical bill throughout my pregnancy. I heard about HealthSparq’s shopping tools through my insurer and figured that I should try it out. I had a pretty good savings set aside, but I had no idea if it was enough and I don’t want to be getting any surprise bills in the mail while I’m on maternity leave.
How did you use the tools?
Megan: Well, I started by searching for labor and delivery, comparing the cost of regular delivery and c-section, and I found it was pretty easy to pull up the doctors associated with those services. I was able to find mine and compare the typical cost of treatment at that facility to the others available in the area.
How did it make you feel to have all that information?
Megan: Really great! There’s a lot of unknown in health care and that can be stressful. With HealthSparq, I was able to see the most common costs that occur throughout the duration of pregnancy on a timeline and they were tailored to my benefits coverage, so I could see exactly what I should expect to pay when everything was through.
How did you use this information?
Megan: I’m fortunate to have a health savings account (HSA), but it wouldn’t have covered the full cost of my delivery. Since I found out what I should expect to pay in my first trimester, I managed to create a savings plan and I’m prepared to pay for everything upfront. Paying off my medical expenses upfront allows me to get a five percent discount from the hospital too, so I’m also saving a good amount.
Would you recommend HealthSparq to other expecting moms?
Megan: Absolutely! It’s so helpful to see everything involved in delivery laid out on a timeline, both for financial planning and to just understand the journey ahead. Also, even though I knew who I wanted my OBGYN to be, other moms might find it useful to look at the quality info and reviews that HealthSparq has on area hospitals. It’s a great start for choosing a doctor.
Do you have any advice for other expecting moms who might consider shopping for health care?
Megan: Definitely start early! I was glad I did, because it gave me enough time to get my savings together, so I can be more comfortable when bills are due and take advantage of the cash discount. When it comes to raising a newborn, there are plenty of things to take care of after medical bills. Saving is important, where possible.
Expecting moms like Megan are leaders in shopping for health care. From delivery to your child’s first visit to the pediatrician, there are plenty of opportunities to shop and save. We’re proud to be a part of helping moms make more educated decisions about health care.