Employers, consumers save millions in health care costs using “reference pricing”

Two recent studies have touted success for a program called “reference pricing” in bringing down health care costs. Both the state of California and the Safeway grocery store chain are saving millions using the approach over the last several years. Safeway introduced reference pricing in 2011, setting maximum amounts for…

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Savvy health-care shoppers reduce out-of-pocket costs, while overall spending speeds ahead

Mounting evidence that you can save big bucks by getting treated at an independent outpatient facility is finally becoming common knowledge. A recent article on cnbc.com describes the situation memorably: If Monty Hall [former host of TV’s “Let’s Make A Deal”] was offering to make you a deal on health…

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Do rising deductibles reduce unnecessary health care, as intended?

As many of us know, insurance deductibles have been rising dramatically over the past few years. And, while few of us are happy about the out-of-pocket costs that are now our responsibility, there’s no denying that higher-deductible health plans have made insurance more affordable. Deductibles have also been instrumental in…

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Report shows hunger for more information about health care prices

A new report by Public Agenda, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, shows that patients, perhaps prompted by higher-deductible health care plans, are asking more questions about their out-of-pocket medical costs and, in some cases, comparing prices across service providers. That’s not how patients have behaved in the past. Asking a…

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