day people make purchasing decisions based on firsthand knowledge of price, quality
do this all the time. You might not realize this, but consumers apply this behavior
every time they purchase groceries, books, automobiles, and electronics and even when
they book travel reservations.Consumers
can make informed purchasing decisions because they have access to meaningful tools
and data that enable them to comparison shop and find the best value.
the health care industry, consumers should be able to easily navigate through treatment
and provider options, so they can research the appropriate quality and price information
for needed services.If we engage consumers
in the health care decision making process, people will act more responsible.I
also believe our health care system should include programs that encourage accountability
for providers, patients (consumers) and health plans.
good news is health insurers are making progress in this direction.Some
of the larger health plans are finally accepting the fact that their members should
be treated like customers and they are working to provide their members with meaningful
tools because they realize this is “good customer service.”What’s
very interesting is that empowering their members to act more like customers benefits
all the stake holders.
the past month, I have reviewed price transparency tools offered my some of the major
health insurers including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, Regence
and United Healthcare.The tools are
designed for members of the health plans and attempt to deliver some price and quality
transparency, to help members make informed choices.It’s
definitely a step in the right direction but there is a lot of room for improvement.We
are all pioneers in this area and as the transparency tools evolve, consumers can
expect to see some innovative, decision-making tools to help them make informed choices
– before visiting a provider.