THE COMING REVOLUTION IN THE MEDICAL MARKETPLACE
January 11, 2007
Millions of Americans have joined the consumer driven health care (CDHC) revolution which allows individuals to manage some of their own health care dollars through medical accounts they own and control. Through CDHC plans, they are able to tailor their health benefits to more closely meet their own needs, thus profiting from being wise health care consumers, says Devon Herrick, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.
A further benefit of CDHC health plans is that when patients control more of their own funds, many will demand new and better services. Increasingly patients in CDHC health plans can:
- Check information on medical treatments and physician prices online.
- Seek out innovative medical providers like walk-in retain clinics, and physicians that offer e-mail or phone consultations.
- Work with Internet-based disease management programs that e-mails updates to an attending physician.
- Compare drug costs and therapeutic substitutes online in search of a better deal.
- Adopt health behaviors based on incentives from health insurers and compare hospital quality benchmarks prior to surgery.
The health care marketplace is just beginning to meet these challenges. Innovative health plans can facilitate many of these new services as a way to attract empowered patients, says Herrick.
Source: Devon Herrick, "The Coming Revolution in the Medical Marketplace," National Center for Policy Analysis, January 10, 2006.
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