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The second-opinion industry

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The Wall Street Journal looks at responses to patients’ growing search for second opinions

“Some … {second-opinion} services are sponsored by established medical centers, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Cleveland Clinic. Others are independent businesses that work with specialists on a consulting basis. Employers increasingly are contracting with such services, and insurance companies at times require patients to get a second opinion, such as for surgery.”

“Patients can request their medical records be sent to an online second-opinion service, which might order additional tests if needed. The services are especially helpful for people who live far from major academic centers that cover a range of physician specialties. Many insurance policies cover in-person second opinions but don’t pay for online services unless they are offered as part of an employee’s health plan.”

One example from the article:

“SecondOpinionExpert Inc., a Web site based in Dana Point, Calif., that launched this spring, says it provides second opinions for $300 and the option for a video conference consultation for an additional $200. The fees generally aren’t covered by insurance plans.”

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