An online medical marketplace?

What the website Carol.com could mean for care:

PROS

• Consumers get detailed descriptions of services and either prices or estimates depending on insurer.

• It could provide a two-way street where consumers can read and write reviews of different "care packages" and eventually create their own.

• Good providers will stand out, attracting more patients.

• It could cut costs and raise quality by getting providers to bundle care instead of charging by office visits and procedures (which encourages overuse).

CONS

• It's a lot of work for providers to bundle new "packages" of care and price them, forming a significant barrier to entry.

• Definity and HealthPartners are the only two insurers to sign on to provide actual and not estimated prices.

• It may be hard for consumers to differentiate between packages posted.

• Site remains a work in progress: Independent quality data still to come.

CHEN MAY YEE