From an Associated Press article on MSNBC.com, “You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, and the doctor is discussing treatment options. Should the cost be a deciding factor?”
Kristen Trusko on The Health Care Blog writes, “If universal coverage mandates that employers provide health insurance or that people secure it themselves, it is highly likely that the majority will choose the lowest cost option, or “low premium” (aka HDHP or high deductible health plan).” And continues, “Universal coverage could increase HSA projections beyond the current 2012 estimates of more than 20 million new accounts with $200 billion in assets.”
Anyone on a HDHP with a health savings account (HSA) is going to care greatly about the price of care: they are responsible for the first few thousands ($$) paid each year and potentially any co-insurance dollars. The benefits of HDHPs have been debated. Regardless of your thoughts, the plan’s creation has created an even greater need for price transparency. And that’s a good thing because we are seeing follow through.
Again from the AP article, “Chemotherapy costs are rising so dramatically that later this year, oncologists will get their first guidelines on how to have a straight talk with patients about the affordability of treatment choices, a topic too often sidestepped.” And, “It’s a particular issue for patients whose cancer can’t be cured but who are seeking both the longest possible survival and the best quality of life — and may be acutely aware that gaining precious months could mean bankrupting their families.”
Now onto the price vs. actual charge debate…