Patients who choose primary care doctors with low office visit prices can rack up considerable savings on overall healthcare costs, according to new research from Harvard Medical School.
The report suggests that office visit costs may be a reliable indicator of what a patient will pay for a wide range of services and procedures. The analysis shows that a relatively small difference in office visit price—$26—translated into hundreds of dollars in savings over the course of a year. The study found that when patients received care from primary care doctors with lower-than-average office visit prices, they spent, on average, $690 less per year, compared with patients who saw higher-priced physicians.
The savings, the researchers note, were not driven by fewer services or less care. Indeed, there was no significant difference in the kind and amount of services received by the two groups of patients. Rather, patients whose physicians charged lower prices for office visits also paid less for almost every other outpatient service they received.
This article was adapted from information provided by Harvard Medical School.