Competition and the power of educated consumers keep the price of flat screen TVs in check. Why can’t it do the same for health care?
A lot of organizations are betting it will. They’re adopting high deductible health plans (HDHPs) ― medical plans that provide financial protection from extraordinary medical expenses while encouraging plan members to focus on wellness and make smart health care decisions. In combination with tax-advantaged, health accounts (such as HSAs, HRAs, FSAs), these HDHPs can help individuals stretch their health care dollars while also reducing overall health care spending. If we want real health care reform in the United States, I believe we need to find new ways of engaging consumers ― and our consumer instincts.
On a closely related topic, I believe we also need to focus on wellness in the workplace, in our schools and in our families. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75 percent of U.S. health care spending goes toward paying for medical care associated with chronic and often preventable medical conditions such as diabetes and congestive heart failure. 75 percent! Imagine how much we could save if we focused more of our energy on wellness and prevention.
Once savvy consumers discover the financial advantages of wellness, they’ll exercise, eat right and adopt other healthy behaviors like they’re clipping coupons.
Do you agree? Disagree? Comment below and let me know what you think.