Clear Health Costs Helps Consumers Determine If Medical Costs Will Be Just Expensive, Or Really, Really Expensive

Robin D. Schatz | Fast Company | November 27, 2013

Looking to buy a flat screen TV, a new condo, or a nonstop flight to Rio? It’s a snap to comparison shop online for the best deals. But what happens when you’re in the market for a spinal MRI, a vasectomy, or an STD test? Or what about a cardio stress test, a dental cleaning, or a little Botox? More often than not, you’re out of luck.

“This is a marketplace where prices are really sort of hidden,” says Jeanne Pinder, a former staffer at the New York Times and founder and CEO of New-York-based Clear Health Costs, a startup that aims to pierce that veil of secrecy by providing clear information on what stuff costs.

Pinder volunteered for a buyout from the Times in late 2009 after 23 years as an editor, writer, and human resources exec. The following autumn, in 2010, she enrolled in a class in entrepreneurial journalism for mid-career professionals at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. It didn’t take her long to zero in on health care for her class project.

“I’ve always been interested in why medical pricing is so impenetrable,” says Pinder. “I’m one of those people who actually reads my medical bills.”