NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Can Consumers Be Smart Health-Care Shoppers?

April 17, 2017

NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick writes for the Wall Street Journal:

Patients are told they need to take greater control over their care. But are laypeople capable of sifting through all their choices to make the right decisions -- particularly when it comes to costs?

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care research nonprofit, found deductibles for individual workers have soared in the past five years, rising 67% since 2010 without adjusting for inflation. That's roughly seven times earnings growth over the same period.

A separate Kaiser analysis of tens of millions of insurance claims found that patient cost-sharing rose by 77% between 2004 and 2014, driven by a 256% jump in deductible payments.

A movement has been growing to give patients more information and choice. Efforts are under way to improve price transparency and help patients navigate a confusing system where prices can vary based on a range of factors. In some cases, patients are consulted by caregivers as partners when deciding on care. And some programs are springing up that reimburse doctors based on the quality of care they provide rather than the quantity, making them more likely to encourage patients to monitor and help their conditions.
 

 

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