Shopping for Care: How to Save Money and Get the Care you Need


| 3 min read

Blue Cross Rewards, BCBSM Rewards Program
Just like your favorite produce can cost more at one grocery store than it does at another, the price of certain medical treatments can vary wildly depending on the location where you receive it. For example, lab tests performed at a hospital are often more expensive than those done at an outpatient center, which ultimately impacts how big of a bill you receive. The good news is that by doing a little research before getting certain procedures done and then consulting your doctor before moving forward with them, you can save on out-of-pocket expenses just by using the tools within your online member account at To help make this easier on our members, we’ve put in place a new innovative program called Blue Cross Rewards*. It helps you compare the costs of services – like an ultrasound, sinus surgery or MRI – and provides you with e-gift cards for choosing cost-effective options. In other words, Blue Cross Rewards doesn’t just help you choose the most effective care for your needs and budget, but also rewards you for making a wise and informed choice about it. Here are a few examples of procedures that might have varying costs depending on where you get them:
  • CT Scans: If you need a CT scan and the timing is flexible (non-emergency cases), having it done at a hospital can cost up to eight times more than having it done at an outpatient facility. Choosing an in-network care provider can also help improve bottom-line costs.
  • Colonoscopy or Mammogram: If one of these routine procedures is needed on an ad-hoc basis or at the discretion of your doctor, you should consider the location where the test will take place, as costs for these procedures can vary wildly. Also, extra testing may not necessarily help you, so be sure to ask your doctor to stick to the essential tests you need.
  • X-Rays and Ultrasounds: Because of the many options you have for these procedures—you can get them done at an imaging center, medical campus or hospital—these procedures have perhaps the widest range in costs. Doing your homework to evaluate the costs at different locations will help you in the long run.
To participate in the Blue Cross Rewards program, just log into your online account, search for reward-eligible procedures, sign up for the reward and visit locations with green trophy symbols. Once your claim has been processed after the service, you will receive an e-gift card for $25 to $75 for each procedure. Making wise decisions about your health and financial future has never been easier. Looking for more on Blue Cross Rewards? Check out these blogs:
Photo credit: Unsplash *The Blue Cross RewardsSM program is available to most commercial fully insured PPO group members.
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association