These days, you may be looking to save money on just about everything. Healthcare for your family is one area where you might be able to save big if you do your research.
KPRC 2 Investigates looks into three ways to smash traditional healthcare models to offer all of us, even those without insurance, affordable care.
Many Texans are without insurance
Hard at work inside his homestyle Italian restaurant, “The Lasagna House,” owner Matt Vernon chops onions for his famous fettuccine alfredo.
At the same time, Vernon has found a way to drastically chop the price of healthcare for himself, his wife, Mary, and their son, Christian. You see, just like 4.3 million other Texans, Vernon doesn’t have any health insurance.
“I can’t afford health insurance right now,” said Vernon. “It’s ridiculously expensive.”
So, after searching like mad, he finally found a place he could go for healthcare at a fraction of the price he’d been paying.
“For the quality of care, the prices can’t be beaten,” said Vernon. “The care is top-notch care and you’re getting it at an incredible price.”
Now, KPRC 2 Investigates talked with three “medical mavericks” who are smashing traditional healthcare to offer affordable care.
Way to save # 1 - visit clinic with flat fees
“I would say we are on the front lines, we are on the front lines of this battle,” said Melissa Herpal, owner of Express Family Clinic. “To save people money, to save lives.”
Melissa Herpal, a nurse practitioner, created Express Family Care with one simple idea -- bypass the big insurance companies completely and charge one low cash price.
“Our office visit is a flat $60 (fee). That’s if you have to come in and get a prescription, you need to be seen for something, it’s $60,” said Herpal. “You will never get a bill from us from Express Family Care.”
Another big difference, you never have to wait days or weeks for an appointment time. Herpal and her staff don’t take appointments.
“If you want to be seen, you come in and we will get you taken care of,” said Herpal.
Way to save #2 - Look for new pharmacy options
Many folks are tired of paying outrageously high prices for prescription drugs and never knowing what the actual price is.
“Ten people can walk into the same drug store for the same drug and literally pay 10 different prices,” said Zack Zeller, Co-founder of ScriptCo Pharmacy in Waco.
ScriptCo Pharmacy in Waco is an online pharmacy membership club that founders Zack Zeller and Mark McCormick say sells more than 4,000 generic drugs at a flat, wholesale price.
“ScriptCo is the first pharmacy in America to transparently disclose what we actually buy a medication for, and we sell it at that cost,” said Zeller.
You pay the same price for prescriptions that they pay. Similar to Costco, you join the ScriptCo for $140 a year or $50 for three months.
KPRC 2 Investigator Bill Spencer asked ScriptCo to check how he could save on three of his everyday medications.
What Bill pays:
- 90 day supply of Pantoprazole: $8.50
- 90 day supply of Naproxen: $8.70
- 90 days of Finasteride: $120.00
- 90 day supply of Pantoprazole: $2.97
- 90 days of Naproxen: $5.12
- 90 day supply of Finasteride: $3.00
ScriptCo reps say Bill could save $400 a year after paying the membership fee.
Way to save #3 - Shop around for testing
But what if you’re seriously ill and need an expensive test, like an MRI, CT scan, or an ultrasound?
Tired of seeing patients skip life-saving tests altogether because of cost, Dr. Cristin Dickerson created Green Imaging, which offers imaging tests at a fraction of the normal price.
The secret: the company buys unused imaging machine time.
“So, we’re able to buy the excess capacity at imaging centers at a discount. We read them at a fair price and we bill under one flat fee,” explains Dickerson.
At a major hospital, Dickerson says an MRI could cost $1,200 to $4,000. Green Imaging offers MRIs from $400 to $525. CT scans cost $175-$500 and ultrasounds run $120 to $300.
Reporter Bill Spencer has a passion for a lot of things, but one of them is helping people save money on healthcare. Below are a few other helpful stories Bill has done recently to help others: