Looking back at health care consumers in 2000 versus patients in 2015 is like comparing present day medical practices with an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Things have transformed that much over the years, leading us to wonder how this evolution happened. The term “health care consumer” didn’t even exist 5 years ago, but with societal changes, health care policy changes and increased health costs… consumerism has become necessary for many patients.
True consumerism is defined by the promotion of the interests of the consumers themselves, but when patients don’t even have a concept of understanding what they WANT in healthcare it makes it basically impossible to achieve. Over the last 15 years, rising health costs and questionable health care quality have sparked awareness for patients, forcing them to start thinking about what they wanted when it came to their care. With the rise of price and quality transparency in healthcare, patients have been able to actually tell the difference between various providers, giving them the power to shop.
“How are healthcare consumers to know which options are best for them?” How do patients find affordable lab work, low-cost mammograms or MRI costs? With the rise of price transparency tools and healthcare e-commerce websites like Save On Medical, patients have the tools to decide for themselves. So, how did we get here?
In just the last 8 years, let’s look at a few monumental changes in price transparency that have affected consumer-driven patients:
- George W. Bush Administration Introduced High-Deductible Health Plans – 2003
- Healthcare Bluebook Launched – 2007
- Congressional Budget Office Issued a Brief on Increasing Price Transparency in Healthcare – June 2008
- SaveOnMedical.com Launched – 2012
- Catalyst for Payment Reform Releases 1st Healthcare Price Transparency Report – March 2013
- Steven Brill’s “Bitter Pill” Article Published in TIME Magazine – April 2013
- Healthcare.gov Launched – October 2013
- Deductibles for Family Plan Surpass $17,500 – 2015