New website works to make medical care cheaper, easier

HOUSTON – These days, people price shop for everything, including milk at the grocery store, airline tickets and hotel rooms.

So why can't we do the same thing for medical care?

Patricia Thomas is a Houston businesswoman and mother of four who, like most, never thought to shop around for a doctor and compare prices. After walking blindly into a neighborhood clinic complaining of shoulder pain, she realized how important it is to shop around before choosing a place for medical care.

Thomas didn't ask up front about costs.

"I figured we'd be in and out and my bill, maybe a thousand dollars at most," she said.

Instead, she received an unbelievable bill for a series of CT Scans. The cost for those CT Scans was $41,000, a price Thomas said is not commensurate to the care she received.

"He did absolutely nothing to treat my problem, nothing to treat my shoulder," Thomas said.

Matt Schneider is working to decrease the sticker shock most patients experience when it comes to the cost of common healthcare procedures. He is the founder of a new website called SaveOn Medical, which is designed to help users save up to 60 percent on routine health screenings, lab tests and dozens of surgeries.

"We can save patients nearly ten times what they might be spending at another health care provider," Schneider said.

The services include MRIs, X-Rays, CT Scans, mammograms and ultrasounds.

"We're saving patients $1,500 (for an MRI)," Schneider said. "For a mammogram, the average price in our area is $290. If booked through SaveOn Medical, the cost is $150.

For a chest X-ray, the average price in the Houston area is $176. Booking through SaveOn Medical drops the price to $50. A CT Scan of the pelvic region will cost an average of $1,187. Booking it on SaveOn Medical makes it cost $400.

Simply visit this website and type in the procedure, and up pops a whole list of providers in the area, what they charge and how much money is saved.

Customers pay online in advance, so there are no extra charges later.

"No bills in the mail, no bills in the future," Schneider said. "Done with the whole process."

Thomas was charged $7,004 for just one cat scan, but at SaveOn Medical, she would have paid $410.

Channel 2 showed Patricia how much she could have saved if she had booked her CT Scans through SaveOn Medical.

"Wow, absolutely fantastic," she said. has only been offering this kind of discount medical pricing in Houston for three months now, so they will be adding many more types of medical procedures, doctors, labs and testing in the months to come.

How does Schneider get the medical facilities to agree to the lowered prices? He said, just like airlines want to fill every seat, medical providers want to fill every patient slot during the day. When they don't, they lose money. They are also getting paid in advance and don't have to worry about collecting money from an insurance company.

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About the Author:

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.