How to find deals on a high-deductible health plan

About 43 percent of Americans are now enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The average deductible, or amount you have to pay out of pocket before your health insurance kicks in, has jumped to $1,300.

Some plans have deductibles as high as $4,000 to $6,000.

Gwinnett Medical Center's Director of Patient Access Sherri Creech says they could see some of their patients were struggling.

"We recently had a patient on the exchange program and his deductible was over $4,000, and his wife needed to get a mammogram," Creech says.

So, to help, Gwinnett Medical Center is partnering with MDsave, an online marketplace offering one-time, flat-fee, pre-negotiated lower prices for over 750 medical procedures, with no hidden fees. Fannin Regional Hospital and East Georgia Medical Center are among the other Georgia healthcare groups using the platform.

"So, let's say you have an X-ray," Creech says. "Rather than pay the hospital and the radiologist, you pay one time, one bill."

MDsave says anyone except those on Medicare and Medicaid can purchase care through its marketplace.

And Georgia State University Professor of Health Information Bill Custer says it may be a good choice for someone facing something like a $2,000 deductible.

"They need a chest X-ray, which is a couple hundred dollars, and they're going to have to pay out of pocket," Custer says. "So, this is a service that makes sense for them. They're going to find the cheapest way to get that x-ray and get it done."

MDsave's website allows you to compare estimated national prices for procedures with its average charges with a 250-mile radius of your zip code.

For an MRI with contrast, MDsave lists the national average as $1,386.

Through its marketplace MDsave says the same scan is $686 in the Atlanta region.

For a screening mammogram of both breast, instead of the $499 national average, MDsave says its providers charge an average $253 in this area.

The site allows a customer to compare prices on everything from a blood test to an appendectomy.

MDsave says customers can save between 40 and 60 percent on the costs of procedures.

The catch is the fees have to be paid up-front through the website.

Custer, says before you hit "pay," shop around, and make sure you're really getting the best deal.

"Do you have a good representation of what the market is charging for this, or is it just the providers who are in the app," Custer asks. "You might see the price for a limited set of providers. But, if you had a different app, you'd see a different set of prices."

MDsave does not submit claims to your health insurance.

Check with your provider to see if your plan will allow you to apply your payments for procedures to your deductible.