Plum Health + Free Market Principles

At Plum Health, we leverage free market principles to deliver affordable, accessible healthcare services. We do this by using cash to purchase medications at wholesale prices. We also work with imaging service centers for at-cost imaging and lab companies for at-cost labs. 

Because we pay cash for these services, they cost less. These services are often 80 - 90% less expensive than using your insurance to purchase the same exact services. 

I like to use the auto insurance analogy to clarify this principle. Typically, you use your auto insurance to repair your car in the case of an accident. You don't call your auto insurance provider when you need to rotate your tires, change your oil, or put gas in your car. You buy these services on the free market because you can shop around and find the best prices.

If you did use your auto insurance to pay for oil, gas, and tire rotation, you would not only pay more for your insurance policy, but the prices for these individual services would increase because of the middle men that have to handle your money. 

Similarly, the health care services provided by a primary care doctor (like me!) are relatively inexpensive. Like it costs next to nothing to check a blood pressure, listen to your heart and lungs, and fill a prescription. So I make the prices of our services transparent so that you understand exactly what you're getting and exactly how much you will be paying for those services.

Because you now have a known cost for the services that we provide, you can shop around, price compare and decide for yourself what makes the most sense for you. For example, let's say you need that MRI of the Cervical Spine. With Plum Health, you can decide if it's better to pay with cash or to use your insurance.

Just this week we ordered an MRI of the Cervical Spine for one of our members. About 4 years ago, he paid $2,000 for this MRI of the C-Spine. Through our contract with a local imaging company, we are able to deliver the same test for about $363. 

To further this example, let's say your insurance coverage is 80/20 for services, meaning that your insurance pays 80% of the cost and you pay 20% of the cost. If you buy that MRI via your insurance company for $2,000, they will pick up 80% of the cost, or $1,600, and you will have to pay the remaining 20% of the cost, or $400. If you go this route, you may have just overpaid by $37.

That may not be a lot to overpay, but for families on a tight budget, every dollar makes a difference. We like to say that we can show you the true value of your health care dollar, and it's important for us to save you money for your health care services. When I took the Hippocratic Oath to become a doctor, I said "First do no harm", and I take that to mean financial harm as well. 

If you'd like to learn more about how we use our free market principles to save you money on your healthcare services, don't hesitate to call me at 313.444.5630. 

Also, this clip is taken from a longer interview that we did with PodBros! Check out their website and rate them on iTunes

Thanks for reading!

- Paul Thomas, MD