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Bartering In Health Care Service

Bartering In Health Care Service

As the cost of health care climbs to newer heights with the passing days, the old fashioned bartering has again become an active means. Last year, Robert Josef of Hillsborough, N.J. went with bartering his web site designing skills in exchange for nearly $1,000 in dental care as he had no insurance coverage. The same trend could be seen around as many patients are resorting to bartering to settle their health care debts with available means other than cash.

The trend towards health care bartering has seen a sharp rise since the start of recession as people are unable to continue their health insurance while spending by the consumers drops, said Allen Zimmerman of ITEX Corp Bellevue in Washington. The health care business of ITEX Corp. has risen to 45% in the previous year. The present membership of the exchange is 24,000 and about $ 1million in health care bartering is fostered by it every month.

The bartering posts have doubled last year due to the recession factor. People practicing bartering said that they found the practice helpful as they could make good uses of their resources and receive health care they could never afford.

However, bartering could be tricky so not all the health care providers would entertain it. There are some doctors who can go for bartering with patients. Others are interested to trade through the many exchanges like ITEX. These kinds of exchanges provide a level ground for bartering among its members for trading goods and services, mainly for barter dollars. These dollars are then used to pay the health care provider who is also a member of the exchange. The number of exchanges present in the United States now stands at 400. A good website to know the listings in different states is

Membership and transaction fees are charged by these exchanges along with providing help in coping with the tax and bartering regulations. The common items of trading include hotel rooms, restaurant meals, and plumbing services.

In direct bartering, the patient exchanges service or good that is required by the doctor. Many Barter clinics also include clothing, firewood along with such unorthodox payments like violin lessons and child care. A member would suggest a trade to the exchange office on which the authorities would do research to find the local prices for that proposed barter and then decide whether to accept the trade.

Once a care provider agrees to some barter, patients should compare at the available shops to know the right prices and then go for a deal. There are some care providers who charges differently to barter customers. Patients should also make it clear the amount of bartering that could be done. Providers do not accept bartering as the only means of payments for costly procedures. One should also check the quality of the work of a barter partner before going for the trade. As patients go for bartering, they are shrinking the number of providers they have for their choice because every doctor will not agree to go for bartering.

Do remember, that whatever is bartered, it must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. The fair market value of services or property that are bartered must be included as income on tax returns.


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