INDIANAPOLIS –  A new app and website could be a useful tool in shopping around for less expensive medical procedures.

While many people think they have no choice but to pay whatever doctors, surgeons and hospitals charge them, you can shop around for lower prices.

The website Billy, like a ‘billy goat,” claims it can help you “eat” your medical bills. In order to use it, you need to get the CPT or DRG code for your procedure or condition. Those uniform codes used in the medical field are easily found with a simple Google search.  

When you go to the Billy search page, enter that code and your zip code and it will bring up a map of all the locations where the procedure is performed, along with their prices. And those prices can be wide-ranging.

I tried out the website and found one kind of knee surgery can cost between $1,200 and $16,000, depending on where you have the procedure performed. One type of X-ray exam can cost between $45 and $600.  One kind of ultrasound can range between $50 and $800.

In some cases, I found the uninsured price is lower than the insured one. Both are listed.

One thing to keep in mind is that this price-finding should only be the start of your homework.

If your doctor referred you to a particular specialist or health center and you find a cheaper price at another facility, it could be worth asking your doctor about the more affordable option. Of course, you may be limited by what’s in your network and whether the office takes your insurance.  

If you notice one specialist or facility is much cheaper than everyone else, you might want to search for online reviews and get your doctor’s opinion. There might be other factors than just price.

The bottom line is that this website may help you start shopping around for the lowest medical costs instead of simply taking what you are given.