Regarding the recent cover story on price transparency titled “Revealing times”, the game-changer in all of this is the huge increase in the number of people who woke up Jan. 1 with a large deductible built into their health insurance. And, according to Mercer's National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, this trend is going to continue.
While this hasn't received that much press, it is, as the article notes, a key driver in the price-transparency movement. After all, despite industry euphemisms such as “the empowered healthcare consumer” and “consumer-directed health plans,” most people are simply ill-prepared and ill-equipped to take the leap into shopping for and buying healthcare services.
The healthcare industry as a whole needs to embrace not only price transparency but quality transparency as well. While it might sound like heresy, this is the only way to meet the needs of the new healthcare consumer. Payers and providers can choose to ignore it and hope it goes away, or take the lead.
David SchultzPresidentMedia LogicAlbany, N.Y.