Making it easier for people to access healthcare price information (such as the services we provide at Compass) is making a difference. Consumers are comparing price information in order to make smarter healthcare decisions.
Public Agenda, a non-profit policy research organization, published an article entitled, “Still Searching: How People Use Health Care Price Information in the United States,” that examined the results of a survey it conducted with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (one of THE biggest names in healthcare policy research) and the New York State Health Foundation that looked at how people use healthcare price information and whether this information impacts healthcare decisions.
The Results are Fascinating:
- 50 percent of respondents attempted to find healthcare price information before receiving care
- 20 percent of respondents attempted to compare healthcare price information among multiple providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.)
- Most respondents understood that healthcare prices and quality are NOT associated—i.e. higher prices are NOT generally a sign of better healthcare
- 59 percent of respondents who compared prices among multiple providers chose a LESS EXPENSIVE doctor, hospital, test or treatment
Here is where it gets even more interesting. The three states with the highest rates of comparing price information among multiple providers are:
- Texas (29 percent)
- Florida (24 percent)
- New Hampshire (24 percent)
Coincidentally, those three states also have healthcare price transparency and advocacy companies headquartered there:
- Texas – Compass Professional Health Services
- Florida – Medical Advocate Program
- New Hampshire – a subsidiary of Vitals
Compass Professional Health Services has more than 2,000 employer clients, with a large number of employer clients in Texas and Florida. We also have more than 2 million members, nationally.
I know anecdotally that Compass’ presence in the marketplace has spurred insurance carriers to create or expand their own price transparency services. In addition, we have helped increase the awareness and implementation of price transparency by employee benefits brokers and HR professionals.
This correlation is not necessarily a cause-effect relationship, but the states with the highest rates of price transparency utilization are those with price transparency companies.
Other interesting stats from the study include:
- 44 percent of respondents knew that doctors’ prices varied and 45 percent knew that hospital prices varied—showing there is still a long way to go in educating employees and their families about the utility of price transparency and healthcare navigation
- 63 percent of respondents said there is not enough information about the cost of medical services. In other words, there is DEMAND for healthcare price transparency
- 70 percent of respondents said their doctors SHOULD discuss costs with patients before ordering test and procedures
These survey results confirm what we at Compass have seen for more than a decade:
- Healthcare prices vary significantly, locally
- When healthcare consumers compare prices, they save money for themselves and their employer’s health plan
- Healthcare price transparency companies like Compass are making an impact
I want to conclude this blog post by thanking our members, employer clients, broker/benefit consultant partners, insurance carrier partners and healthcare provider partners. Together we are lowering healthcare costs and improving healthcare value. You are appreciated!
- Price Isn’t an Effective Tool to Determine Healthcare Quality
- What is the Cause of Rising Healthcare Costs? High Prices, Not Utilization
- Healthcare Navigation Support: Do Your Employees Have the Resources They Need?
To learn more about Compass, click here.