Pocketero is a non-insurance network

Insurance networks have mediocre prices. Pocketero is a non-insurance network so we can empower patients with the best prices.

Insurance networks get mediocre prices

Photo of health insurance employee not motivated to negotiate discounts on healthcare

Getting discounted prices on healthcare is one of the two main benefits of health insurance. Theoretically, these discounted prices are special. But in practice they aren't - they are largely ordinary prices. That's because around 90% of healthcare is paid through third-party payers with roughly the same prices. By definition, these are "normal" prices. Average. Mediocre. That's not good enough when healthcare in the United States is the most expensive in the world.

These mediocre insurance prices will never improve:

  • Insurers aren't motivated. It's much easier to continue raising premiums every year than to engage in hardball price negotiations with hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers every year. Plus, insurers don't have much leverage to negotiate discounts. They are non-unique and difficult to work with. They like to offer "patient referrals," but most healthcare providers already have more patients than they can handle.
  • Healthcare providers aren't motivated. Accepting insurance is expensive and frustrating. Health insurers require pre-approvals, deductibles, copays/coinsurance, and claims. These hassles aren't simply inconvenient. They require hiring extra staff, and waiting months for payment. These drawbacks do not inspire much willingness to negotiate.

In fact, insurance network discounts are so ordinary that healthcare providers have developed a shortcut. Providers deliberately inflate their "chargemaster" list prices to allow for a standard insurance "discount". They are happy because they're still getting a normal price, and insurers are happy because they get to claim they get a huge discount. But this practice comes with a very ugly dark side.

Nobody is actually supposed to pay the artificially-inflated "chargemaster" prices. But if you're not part of a network, those are the prices you will be quoted. So not only are the insurance network prices mediocre, they have created a system where the most financially vulnerable people get screwed.

Non-insurance networks can get the best prices

Pocketero is on a mission to empower patients with the best prices. We can only accomplish this mission as a non-insurance network.

In healthcare, you must be part of a network to get the biggest discounts. However, insurance networks suffer from complexity, slowness, and expense. That is why it's impossible for insurance networks to get the best prices. Only non-insurance networks can get the best prices, because only they are able to be simple, fast, and inexpensive.

Healthcare providers want to help people, but they need to stay in business. They can't offer their best prices to customers who are burdensome. They can only offer their best prices to their best customers. Pocketero members are the best customers a healthcare provider has ever had.

In a market where the vast majority of bills require extraordinary efforts to collect, bills that get paid easily are worth discounting. Healthcare providers have already proved this by frequently offering a "cash discount" (also called a "prompt-pay discount" or "self-pay discount") of around 15%. This discount pales in comparison to insurance network discounts commonly around 50%. And nothing compares to Pocketero discounts commonly around 75%. Pocketero empowers patients who pay out of pocket with the best prices.