Health reform is supposed to transform us into better consumers.
But isn’t over-consumption part of the problem?
The healthcare consumer concept is like a bad diet.
- First you consume too much
- Then you starve yourself in hope of some miracle
Healthcare Consumer Oxymoron
Today’s healthcare consumer is the child who won’t leave home.
Employers spoiled us by shielding the true cost of our health benefits.
Then when times got tough, like a parent with a 20-something child, employers revealed the real-world cost.
Kicked from the nest of $10 copayments and claim-free filing, we were thrust into the land of high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
How we survive depends on us.
Growing Up or Out
Just like the child who moves into her first home, the new healthcare consumer needs to decide how to spend her money.
- Does she invest for the future?
- Or live in the here and now?
Will the new healthcare consumer delay care like the starving worker waiting for the next paycheck?
Reality is many of us are simply not that good at this role, as illustrated below by the low use of available online tools.
Online Healthcare Tools
We are in this together. The following are online resources and tools to help you make informed health care decisions.
- Healthgrades - Physician, hospital look-up – includes background and reviews and has app for iPhones
- The Joint Commission - Quality Check shares a quality report for healthcare organizations
- Medicare.gov Hospital Compare - Compare hospital quality from Medicare databases
- Medicare.gov Physician Compare - This is the physician version. There are also comparisons for nursing homes, home health care, and dialysis facilities
- Leapfrog Group – employer-based site but individuals can compare hospitals here
- Consumer reports - requires subscription
- Hospital websites – check your hospital’s website – many have started including quality of care data
Quality of Care Information
- Healthcare Bluebook - the site uses your computer’s location or you can enter a zip code to check costs for health care services
- New Choice Health – it’s a free service but you do need to sign up
- Insurers – check your insurer’s website – many of them contain procedure costs online
May the force be with you.
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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.