Blogger Spotlight: Price Transparency and Consumer-Driven Healthcare

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With all the talk about consumer-driven healthcare plans, high-deductible plans and the need for price transparency in the health care industry, we wanted to highlight some of the less well-known bloggers that are contributing valuable information to price shoppers and their tools for educating the price sensitive patient population.  The following blog sites contribute helpful tips to patients looking for ways to save on medical expenses and become more active advocates for their own care.
1. Employee Benefit Research Institute
“While the link between health insurance coverage and employment has long been known, these data underscore the degree to which unemployment rates directly affect the levels of the uninsured in the United States,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. “
2. US Bank: Healthcare Payment Insider
” One of the mistakes we often make in our benefits communications to employees is focusing on their added responsibility, rather than on the positives of that larger burden. You can’t make a case that it’s great to pay more money out of pocket. Instead, you can highlight what “having control” really means: greater understanding (resulting in less stress), greater savings (from lower-cost premiums and fewer non-essential tests and medications), and a greater say in their own care. That’s empowering. And that’s the advantage of consumer driven healthcare.”
3. HSA Guy- Scott Borden
“There are several exciting things about Consumer Driven Health Care plans that are proving to reduce costs. One of the best things is pricing transparency.”
4. Universal Specatator: Health Care
“A select portion of the population chooses to carry the risk of medical expenses themselves rather than buying into an insurance plan. This group tends to be younger and healthier than insured patients and, as such, accesses medical care much less frequently. Because this group has to pay for all incurred costs, they also tend to be much more discriminating in how they access the system. The result is that patients (now more appropriately termed “consumers”) comparison shop for tests and elective procedures and wait longer before seeking medical attention. The payment method for this group is simple: the doctors and hospitals charge set fees for their services and the patient pays that amount directly to the doctor/hospital.”
5. Statistic Brain
uninsured statistics* Statistic Brain– Uninsured health statisitcs Source: U.S. Census Bureau 1/25/12
6. American Affairs Suite 101
“Another 10.1 million of the 46 million “uninsured” have incomes of more than more than 3X the poverty level. For a family of four, if the household income was more than 3X the poverty level in 2007, they had $62,000 of income or more, and well were above the national median. An additional 9.3 million are non-citizens. Of the remaining 15.6 million uninsured, 5 million are between ages 18 and 34 and without kids. This leaves 10.6 million people in the United States who have no health insurance and do not fit in any of the above categories.”
7. E-News Site
“But what about the 43 million Americans who are uninsured and thousands more who are inadequately insured?” This was duly considered and discussed and then another member stated; “You are speaking to one, I only have major medical with a high deductable.”
8. The Dish: Biased and Balanced
“Price transparency seems like the kind of thing that everyone should be able to rally around. But you’d be wrong. Pretty much everyone in the health-care world—other than the patient—has an interest in keeping prices opaque.”
9. TRENDSparency
“Consumers themselves must be aware that you can shop for care as you would any other consumer product. In short, people think they have little responsibility for the cost of their healthcare, when the reality is quite the opposite. Forbes writer Zina Moukheiber echoed those sentiments about our HCTI, calling it “More Proof to Shop Around for Care.””
10. Zina Moukheiber’s Healthworks: Forbes Contributor
“As consumers start bearing the brunt of costs, they are going to shop around and push for greater price transparency.”
11. Taegan Goddard’s WonkWire
“Most doctors and hospitals would rather not post their prices, because then patients would shop around, placing pressure on their incomes. Insurers don’t like price transparency, because they view the rates they negotiate with hospitals and doctors as proprietary trade secrets that give them an advantage over their competitors. Suppliers of medical products, of course, also benefit from high prices… Transparency is the sort of thing that Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on. But instead, they’ve agreed to let industry lobbyists preserve the status quo.”
12. FierceHealth
“As healthcare costs continue to rise and fluctuate based on hospitals’ location, price transparency efforts will continue to be important.”
13. Atlantic Health Solutions
“As long as patients know where to look, they can find highly reputable providers with affordable pricing options.  Uninsured patients can also negotiate pricing in many instances.  Keep in mind that high quality care does not necessarily translate to lack of affordability.  There is very little correlation when it comes to quality and pricing in the health care system; just because a location charges $1400 for an MRI, does not mean it is better than the facility charging $450.”