Wednesday July 29, 2015

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Consumer-Driven Health News

How Health Plans with High Deductibles Became the New Normal

The Affordable Care Act was designed to improve health care access and, ultimately, health by expanding coverage to most Americans. Yet stories abound of newly insured patients who face medical bills they cannot pay. At the same time, the overuse of medical services remains a threat to the sustainability of the overall health care system. What could a smarter way forward look like? Many insurance providers and employers are beginning to experiment.

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High-Deductible Plans Change How Hospitals Interact with Patients

High-deductible plans are changing the way health systems interact with their patients, from where they get care to how they're presented with their bills. While health systems are taking different approaches, more providers are initiating financial conversations before treatment begins, including financial literacy education.

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Survey: Healthcare Consumers Want Health Costs Up Front

Pricing transparency is becoming a critical factor when patients evaluate hospital care and choose providers, according to a new survey. TransUnion found 80 percent of patients said the availability of up-front cost estimates would influence their choice of a healthcare provider, the same percentage as said bedside manner was a key factor.

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Consumers Demand Price Transparency, But at What Cost?

Consumers are demanding more transparency around healthcare costs, but there are limits to how much that information can help them make decisions and it could end up costing them more in the end.

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HDHPs Becoming Dominant Health Benefit Plan

While PPO plans remain as the plan type with the highest enrollment, this is the first year where PPO prevalence is less than 50 percent, PricewaterhouseCoopers says. HDHPs have the most membership 31 percent of the time, up from 26 percent in 2014, and are the second-most popular plan. Eighty-three percent of employers offer an HDHP; 56 percent offer an HDHP with a health savings account and 18 percent offer an HDHP with a health reimbursement arrangement.

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