Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Reform and Consumerism

Regardless of your position on the current health reform, it will soon impact consumerism movements that have been shaping the healthcare landscape and helping to hold prices down.

Consumerism provides individual patients with some economic responsibility as they make decisions regarding their healthcare; hoping to strike a balance between making care affordable but also making sure those paying for care are getting value for the resource they spend.

The reform legislation will probably change over time, but as of today, based on the Senate's bill; here are some of the impacts on consumerism:

Promoting consumerism:

Linking payments to hospitals to providers based upon quality of care instead of volume of services (2012).

Linking payments to physicians to providers based upon quality of care instead of volume of services (2013).

Taxing high cost insurance plans (2013).

Increasing the threshold for claiming itemized deductions for medical expenses (2013).

Limiting Consumerism:

Eliminating Lifetime Limits and Restricting Use of Annual Limits (2010).

Covering Preventive Health Services at 100% (2010).

Reducing the Part D “Donut Hole” or Coverage Gap (2010).

Limiting Health Flexible Savings Account Contributions (2011).

Eliminating Annual Limits on health insurance coverage (2014).


It will be interesting to see how the final legislation changes over time and what its ultimate impact will be on consumerism.

Based upon patient usage of the Healthcare Blue Book, we know that many patients are very capable of finding high quality care at reasonable prices when they have an incentive to do so.

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