iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Making prices consumers pay transparent may help control prices

Seeking Lower Prices Where Providers Are Consolidated: An Examination of Market and Policy Strategies, by Paul B. Ginsburg and L. Gregory Pawlson. The authors discuss a wide range of strategies at the disposal of payers and policymakers to curb the market power wielded by providers. For example, they point to the information systems that many private insurers are developing to produce real-time estimates of patients’ out-of-pocket costs—data that patients could use to become more price-conscious when choosing providers.

Then there is this:

Tthe Health Care Cost Institute announced that it will work with three health insurance companies – United, Aetna, and Humana – to lead an industry-driven effort to provide transparency on prices paid for health-care services by making them available on-line.  The new initiative will offer consumers a “reference price” for health services in their communities, based on aggregated data from insurers. Customers will get more information about prices, including how much they’ll have to pay out of pocket.  “The public has been clamoring for this,” said David Newman of the Health Care Cost Institute.  “This was the next natural step for us as an institute to evolve to.”

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