Wishing there was a way you could control your own health care expenses?
We came across two interesting pieces in last week’s news that could mean help is on its way.
First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the results of a study which reveal enormous discrepancies in the fees hospitals charge their patients. Click here to read more, and be sure to check out the interactive graphic at the end of the article which shows pricing by state.
The good news is this: at the same time the study results were released, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new rule that hospitals must disclose their charges to their patients.
As consumers, most of us price shop for many of our purchases. As patients, however — essentially consumers of health care — we often don’t feel that we can price shop. This is not surprising since, until this recent news, hospitals were somewhat secretive as to what they charge.
Will HHS’s new rule encourage consumer price shopping which, in turn, will drive prices down due to competition? Time will tell.
Another area where consumers may be able to take charge of their health care expenses is by taking advantage of lower insurance premiums offered in exchange for participation in a wellness program, for example, a walking program for obese adults. Click here to read more about a study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System and Stanford University.
Of course, as the article states, there are some ethical questions about the fairness of tying insurance costs to whether or not someone exercises, but it does signal a shift toward greater individual control over health care costs.
What do you think?
At Virginia Medical Plans, we are always available to help you find ways to reduce your health care costs. Give us a call today!