Wednesday May 4, 2016

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Consumer-Driven Health News

By Not Discussing Cost Issues, Doctors, Patients May Miss Chances to Lower Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

Some studies have shown that making patients responsible for shouldering more of their own health costs often leads them to skimp on both valuable preventive care and superfluous services alike. Doctors could play a key role in helping patients find appropriate and affordable care by talking to them about their out-of-pocket costs. But, a range of physician behaviors currently stands in the way, according to a new study.

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Colonoscopies, Mammograms and Childbirth Are Americans’ Most-Shopped Health Services

The idea of comparing prices and quality when we are in the market for health care is pretty new territory in our country of avid shoppers. But more and more employers and insurers are giving patients tools that let them put in the name of a test or procedure and see who charges what. So what are patients shopping for? A new study found that the top shopped service was a colonoscopy. Coming in at second and third, respectively: a mammogram and childbirth services.

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Most Consumers Don't Equate Healthcare Prices with Quality

Consumers are aware that healthcare prices bear little relation to the delivery of quality care, according to researchers at UC San Francisco who published their findings in the most recent issue of the journal Health Affairs. Between 58 percent and 71 percent of survey respondents believe that there is little correlation between the cost of the healthcare being delivered and its overall quality, according to the study.

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Legislation Would Shield FSA, HSA Contributions from ACA Cadillac Tax

Group health plans would be much less likely to trigger the health care reform law’s so-called Cadillac tax on costly premiums under legislation (H.R. 4832) introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA). The bill would exclude pretax contributions made to employees’ FSAs and HSAs when calculating whether group health plan premiums exceed the tax.

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Why 80 Percent of Obamacare Plans Are Ineligible for This Tax Break

A study from ValuePenguin found that only 19 percent of health plans on the federal Obamacare marketplace were eligible for HSAs, even though the vast majority of them had high deductibles. When a marketplace health plan is eligible for an HSA, the consumer in that plan would have to go to a nearby bank or other financial institution to open his own account — an extra step, for sure, but one that can reap rewards down the line.

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