Wanted to highlight an app from last year’s Apps for Metro Chicago competition called OkCopay.
The app compares the cash price of medical services. It’s primary for people to shop around for those services not covered by insurance. It also compares other variables, such as years of experience and distance from your geographic area, though, unfortunately, I didn’t see a place where users could rate their medical care (which would be helpful). Nonetheless, it’s a great effort because cash prices vary widely, and people need to know that. Here’s an example they gave during the App Contest: “the cash price for an Abdominal MRI in downtown Chicago at accredited imaging facilities can range from $420 to $2093, and an eyeglass exam can range from $44 to $300.”
The Chicago Tribune recently interviewed OkCopay’s founder, Toure McCluskey, about being one of a few black startup founders in Chicago. And here’s another interview about the more technical aspects of the site, and the announcement that the company won the “Innovate Illinois” award in the Apps Contest.
I think that this is a great idea; there are a lot of services not covered by basic insurance, including vision and dental care, and around 12% of Illinois residents don’t have health insurance in the first place, according to this Chicago Tribune article, though that number is expected to decrease when Obama’s healthcare law kicks in. Providing this data helps citizens make smart choices in choosing private healthcare, and that’s a win-win for government and the public.