There is rarely a stop in a coffee shop lately that does not spur up some conversation about the roller coaster economy and/or the absolute mess we are experiencing with health-care. Both were also recent topics in the San Francisco Chronicle – another amazing article, Health Care Bartering – Just What the Doctor Ordered spells out some facts that absolutely astound!
FACT: Those physicians, who are in a practice setting that allows bartering, are jumping on the band wagon – either in hopes of providing more services to families in their communities who simply cannot otherwise afford health-care – or perhaps in seeing the ability to tap into other products and services which they may not so easily afford themselves in a lagging economy. Consider: medical services for music lessons; website services for dental care; and other unorthodox forms of payment as the shared “need” reveals. Imagine trading your skill set for a luxury meal at a Sushi restaurant!
FACT: Some healthcare providers are open to the risk of direct patient bartering; others require what they consider the safety of an exchange.
- Health care bartering has risen dramatically since the recession began, as people lose their health insurance and consumer spending drops, said Allen Zimmelman, a spokesman for the Bellevue, Wash.-based trade exchange ITEX Corp.
- ITEX Corp. has seen its health care business rise 45 percent over the past year. The exchange, which has 24,000 members, now fosters about $1 million a month in health care bartering.
- Craigslist says overall bartering posts have more than doubled over the past year as the recession took hold.
FACT: There is a full-fledged resurgence of bartering occurring around the country:
- There are about 400 exchanges in the United States, Zimmelman said. The Web site barternews.com offers state-by-state listings.
- These exchanges charge membership and transaction fees, and they also help members deal with tax implications of bartering. Hotel rooms, restaurant meals and services like plumbing are among the more popular items traded.
What trade would you consider to be your most “unorthodox?”