Consumer Driven Healthcare
There is a major belief among employers, policy makers, and healthcare policy experts that if the American public had more financial responsibility when it came to healthcare that they would spend less and choose wisely. Known as consumer driven healthcare, these groups hope that by increasing co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles and that with more “skin in the game” people will shop around for health insurance, doctors, hospitals, medications, and various medical procedures, much the same way they do for cars, restaurants, and other consumer goods and services.
The Frightening Implications of Insurance Plans
The implications are frightening for a variety of reasons. Given a choice, consumers don’t want consumer driven healthcare. They prefer traditional comprehensive health insurance. Early research suggests that they are switching to consumer driven health insurance plans because they don’t have a choice.
The other problem is that for consumer driven healthcare to work as experts hope it would, consumers need to have access to information that compares and rates insurance plans, doctors, hospitals, medications, and various medical procedures much the same way cars and restaurants are evaluated in various magazines, newspapers, and books. While the information is available, it is not nearly as commonplace or as helpful as those for other consumer goods and services. In addition, the public isn’t accessing this information.
You Could Be Wasting a Lot of Money on Your Health
Finally the last problem is the question of whether or not individuals understand when to spend money and when to save money on various tests and procedures to maintain their healthy lives? Will they choose to make the right choices when they feel well to prevent future illness or wait until they are very sick? The answers still aren’t conclusive, however, it is likely that with consumer driven healthcare the overall health of the nation will get worse, not better.
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