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Get paid to shop for health care

You wouldn’t buy a plane ticket without knowing the real cost. But that’s what many North Carolinians do when it comes to their health care.

We know that navigating the health care system and figuring out what you can expect to pay, is one of the most complex and frustrating issues that many of us face. National studies have shown that North Carolinians pay much more for health care than nearly all other states, currently ranking #50 on certain cost measures, according to WalletHub. In fact, right here in North Carolina, the cost of a procedure can differ by thousands of dollars even within the same town.

Knowing where your health care dollar goes

In just 10 years, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) analysis show that some North Carolinians will spend up to 25 percent of their take-home pay solely on medical expenses. As the largest organization in the state that insures many North Carolinians for most of their lives, we have a responsibility to do what we can to reverse these alarming trends.

And it starts with simplifying the health care process. We want consumers to know they can easily save money on one of their largest household expenses, by giving them the tools they need to make informed health care choices and get the most for their dollar.

In 2012, we introduced HealthNav, a tool that lets our members compare the cost and quality of health care procedures. In 2015, we made our cost data public. Everyone in NC can now search common procedures using our cost transparency tool.

In 2018 we rolled out a new program called SmartShopper, a cost-saving program that helps improve the bottom line by paying employees to shop for certain medical procedures. It has been so successful we are now making it available for any traditional self-insured employer.



[TITLE] Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina 

We all know what to do when we don't like the price of something we want. We shop around. But it's not that easy with health care.

In one facility, an MRI could cost $3,000 but only $300 down the street. While that information is available, you don't have time to sift through it all. That's where SmartShopper comes in.

[TITLE] SmartShopper

SmartShopper makes it easy for you to find the right care at the right place for the right price. And on top of your savings, you get a cash reward.

[TITLE] Here's how: go to

To start searching for your procedure, go to Here, you'll search for eligible procedures. But if you'd rather call, you can always talk to PAT, the Personal Assistant Team.

[TITLE] PAT Personal Assistant Team 1-877-702-6661

To quickly find what you're looking for, click Browse by Category, then Medical Procedures, then All SmartShopper Procedures. Select your procedure, accept the terms of use, and you'll see a list of providers. A green savings box means this provider is eligible for a SmartShopper reward.

After your procedure with a SmartShopper eligible provider, you'll receive a check right to your door. It's that simple.

[TITLE] SmartShopper

Great care at your convenience plus cash in your pocket, what are you waiting for? Log on or call today to start saving.

[TITLE] Smartshopper

SmartShopper Personal Assistant Team (PAT)


[CLOSING TEXT] Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

SmartShopper is a cost transparency incentive program that makes it simpler than ever to find certain, lower-cost medical procedures. Members can price shop over 80 common procedures like colonoscopies and CT scans and get paid cash for visiting SmartShopper eligible providers.

How does it work?

Using Blue Connect, eligible members can select the SmartShopper option. SmartShopper helps identify quality, in-network doctors who can do the procedure at a lower cost.

Members select the provider they prefer and have their procedure. Then SmartShopper mails the shopper a check for up to $500 per procedure.

The big picture

Transparency has become the norm for most industries. The health care field can no longer play by a different set of rules. People can’t be in the dark about costs until bills come in the mail.

Improving access to pricing and quality data can help patients cut their health care costs. It also helps them make informed choices about their care. This is critical if we want to change health care, making it simpler to understand, more affordable and customer-focused.

We’re excited about our range of tools that help simplify the health care experience, especially our new SmartShopper tool. These tools can’t fix the health care system overnight, but we think they’re a step in the right direction.

authors photo

Steve Crist

Steve Crist

Steve Crist worked for Blue Cross NC for over 20 years, helping to manage relationships with consultants, producers, prospects and existing customers.

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