The recent report “Price Transparency in U.S. Healthcare: A New Market” by research and advisory firm Aite Group released last Thursday establishes health care price transparency as a growing, new health care market. The move toward health care price transparency is expected to increase revenue for banks, merchant acquirers, clinicians and hospitals based on the growing consumer demand for greater transparency on health care costs. Supporting companies can expect to increase revenue to $1.9 billion by 2016. According to the study, the total market for price transparency products and services will increase from $540 million in 2012 to $3.09 billion by 2016, which is a compound annual growth rate of 55 percent from 2012 to 2016.
Increasing enrollment in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) will be a major influence in the move toward health care price transparency. However, the demand for greater price transparency is not exclusive to HDHP/CDHP consumers, as all consumers desire a balance in quality and cost. Although growing HDHP enrollment is not the only factor in the move toward health care consumerism as the purchases of insurance on the state insurance exchanges start next year.
Health care consumers’ desire to align the quality of care with the cost of receiving care paves the way toward health care price transparencies. Along with consumer desires, legislative changes through the Affordable Care Act have provided opportunities for health care entrants to create a new market by addressing sticker shock, clarifying confusing healthcare bills and helping both insured and uninsured choose providers.
Consumerism is still not the norm. Despite a significant transition toward high-deductible plans, broader availability of price and quality information, and efforts by many large employers to provide decision tools, fully-informed, in-control consumers are the exception.
Since 2010, a new digital health care landscape has emerged with everyone from Apple and Google to GE and Verizon making investments and announcing they intend to enter the sector. But this year will be remembered as the year digital health got serious.
It goes without saying that we should know what something costs before we buy it. But every day consumers undergo lab tests, imaging procedures and even surgeries and don’t find out the price until the bill comes weeks or months later.
Now that price transparency is becoming the new normal, we need to ensure that the information about prices is accurate. Having accurate price information could potentially help both employers and insured workers reduce the amount of money each spends on health care.
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