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.
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.
What’s more unpleasant than shopping for health insurance? Not much, according to a recent Bankrate survey. Selecting and enrolling in a new health plan ranks alongside being crammed into the middle seat of an airplane or filing taxes for most Americans.
Across America, very few states take the protection and rights of consumers seriously when it comes to making available health care quality and cost information.
While most of us would never frequent a restaurant that didn’t list prices but instead kept patrons guessing until they received a bill a month later, that’s exactly what happens in health care. The true costs of services are tightly held secrets.
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