Medical costs too high? Some doctors will bid for your business

Medical costs too high? Some doctors will bid for your business »Play Video

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Next item on the auction block: A brand new colonoscopy.

Doctors across the country are using bid-for-care websites like Medibid.com to attract business and save customers money.

"A lot of procedures are a lot more affordable than big insurance companies want us to think they are,” Medibid CEO Ralph Weber told KATU. “If someone chooses to be uninsured next year, the individual penalty is $95 or up to 1% of your income. I think some people will choose to remain uninsured and shop for care as they go."

The penalty Weber is talking about comes from Obamacare’s individual mandate to buy health insurance by the end of 2013.

But people like George Law say insurance just isn’t affordable.

"I do not have health insurance. I'm one of the many who don't. It's not because I don't want it, I just can't afford it,” Law said.

Law, from Chicago, requested a colonoscopy on Medibid, and doctors around the country “bid” to perform it.

The winner: Dr. Scott Gibson, practicing half a country away here in Oregon.

Gibson charges cash customers about $800 for a colonoscopy, a bargain compared to the $3,500 price tags Law was finding around Chicago.

"You might say come on, you can actually travel from Chicago to Oregon, rent a car, stay in a hotel and pay for your medical services? Not only did I come out ahead, it was less than half the price [of having the procedure done in Chicago]," Law said.

Why the huge difference in price?

“I think it has to do with where it’s done,” Gibson said. “Hospitals have high overheads, so they tend to charge more.”

Medibid claims it saves the average customer 50 percent.

Patients using Medibid have to check out a doctor’s background on their own and are responsible for getting test results (from x-rays, blood draws, etc.) to their doctor.

If you want to research what a medical procedure is likely to cost, check out the Health Care Blue Book.