In JAMA Study, Castlight Shows Price Transparency Brings Modest Savings
In the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Castlight Health have published what they believe is the first study linking price transparency to cost savings. The study of more than 500,000 Castlight users demonstrated modest savings for lab tests, advanced imaging, and clinician office visits. Researchers found that searchers paid 14 percent less for laboratory tests, 13 percent less for advanced imaging services, and only about 1 percent less for clinician visits.
More Plans Setting Spending Limits for Some Medical Services
Aiming to contain health care costs, a growing number of employers and insurers are adopting a strategy that limits how much they’ll pay for certain medical services such as knee replacements, lab tests and complex imaging. A recent study found that savings from such moves may be modest, however, and some experts question whether “reference pricing,” as it’s called, is good for consumers.
Officials at the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have given guidelines for using "reference-based pricing" arrangements in a new batch of answers to frequently asked questions about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Plans can copy Priceline when they're designing pricing systems -- but only if they make sure patients have reasonably quick access to well-located health care providers.
Despite all the media attention, most of us are only bystanders to the activities surrounding Obamacare. That’s because most of us still get our health insurance through our employers. So why should the 149 million of us getting employer-sponsored insurance care so much about what happens to the 19 million non-elderly people who buy their coverage directly? A number of reasons emerged from a public policy workshop held recently in Washington, DC.
High deductibles are causing patients to skip health care they really need. At the same time, there are no deductibles or copayments for a whole slew of services that people don’t need or could easily pay for out of pocket. What’s the common denominator here? Obamacare.