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The American Consumer Will Help Fix Health Care

How many high dollar products or services would you purchase without knowing the price in advance? Most people say they wouldn’t, but, then they go to get a colonoscopy for $8,000 instead of $1,000 or an MRI for $2,500 instead of $500 (or even less). How is this possible in the land of the greatest consumers? 

Americans are operating as consumers when it comes to their health plan – which is very different than health care. Most retail plans are designed with very little relation to the actual cost of services. These plan designs have trained members to consume in terms of copays, deductibles and coinsurance – the parts of the plan that affect their wallet. Wouldn’t it make more sense to align their interests with the overall costs to the plan as well as better health outcomes? 

Employers with the very best performing health plans – in terms of both cost and outcomes – do this very thing. They arm their members with critical quality and cost data PRIOR to getting services – and reward them with waived or reduced out of pocket costs. And, since 85% of services are scheduled this has a dramatic impact in lowering overall costs. These employers have both better health outcomes AND significantly lower costs than their peers. How much better off could your health plan perform with the right incentives in place? Let’s find out. 

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