When It Comes To Health Prices, Getting Information Is Difficult
New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that requires disclosure of health care prices. Also, The Miami Herald continues its coverage of the problems Miami-Dade County has in trying to get details about what it spends on health care for workers.
Kaiser Health News: How Much Does That X-Ray Cost? You Can Find Out In New Hampshire
New Hampshire is among 14 states that require insurers to report the rates they pay different health care providers—and one of just a handful that makes those prices available to consumers. The theory is that if consumers know what different providers charge for medical services, they will become better shoppers and collectively save billions. In most places, though, it’s difficult, if not impossible to find out how much you will be charged for medical care. And with more people enrolled in high-deductible insurance plans, there is a growing demand for accurate price information (Appleby, 9/18).
Miami Herald: Health Care Price Averages Don't Give Miami-Dade Tools To Cut Costs
Last year, Miami-Dade employees, retirees and dependents cost the county’s health plan about $2.25 million for medical procedures that fell under an obscure-sounding category called "major joint replacement or reattachment of lower extremity," according to AvMed Health Plans, manager of the county plan. But even though at least eight hospitals provided the service — which could range from a hip replacement to reattachment of a foot — no two hospitals were paid the same amount. ... The numbers, provided by AvMed, offer some insight into Miami-Dade’s employee health benefits expenses. But healthcare experts and hospital administrators say that because they are averaged payments, they also obscure details that would allow the county to truly understand and manage its labor healthcare costs (Chang, 9/18).
Meanwhile, Marketplace takes a critical look at corporate wellness programs -
Marketplace: The Shortcomings Of The Corporate Wellness Program
Corporate wellness programs have become a $6 billion industry for one, possibly flawed, reason: they help reduce companies' healthcare costs, while saving their employees money. To some degree, they have been a success. Growth in premiums has hit its lowest point in the last 16 years. A new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 71 percent of employers believe corporate wellness programs are either "very" or "somewhat" effective at reducing spending on providing benefits for their employees, who would be rewarded with these benefits by meeting various incentives. But companies can also impose a penalty. They can charge an employee more for smoking or being overweight. It's the very reason why, says Professor Nancy Koehn of the Harvard Business School, these programs don't work (Ryssdal, 9/18).