EUGENE, Ore. -- Because of the sweeping insurance changes under way, people are looking at new options to take care of their health coverage. In some case, doctors are working to outbid each other for people’s surgical procedures.
One man, Perry Hunt of Eugene, needed a hip replacement surgery, but said his insurance wouldn't cover it. He estimated that if he paid out-of-pocket it would have cost him $70,000.
He found the website MediBid, on which doctors auction their services. For a $25 fee, Hunt summarized what he needed done. A doctor then replied with a bid for $21,000, much less than what he expected to pay.
"I read a lot of reviews and every review that I read was positive, so I knew that this was going to be my guy," Hunt said.
“I was underbid by another surgeon by about $6,000,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Adam Harris. “But (Hunt) found value in what I had to offer and came to me for that reason."
Harris said he requires his patients to undergo a full evaluation before he performs the surgery.
But critics have warned there's a lot of risk to a service like MediBid, particularly because the website doesn't check out the doctors. MediBid leaves that part up the patients.
And other doctors have noted that paying less could mean receiving inferior care.
Hunt said he's happy with the overall experience. And he added that his bills totaled exactly $21,000.
KGW reporter Cathy Marshall contributed to this report.