This new year, 2016, is the year when consumers will recognize that price is the pain point in healthcare, just as it is with any other purchase. For far too long, healthcare has been immune to the normal market trends of price transparency and online purchasing.
The cost of healthcare wasn’t as great a concern to a majority of Americans in the past because most costs were covered by insurance plans. While the increase in high-deductible health plans was increasing before the Affordable Care Act (ACA (Obamacare)), it has accelerated since the implementation of the ACA. Why? The cost of insuring more Americans, even those with pre-existing conditions, has been expensive for the insurance companies so they have shifted more of their costs to the consumer in the form of high-deductible insurance plans. Now that more American’s are shouldering a greater percentage of healthcare costs in the form of out-of-pocket costs before a deductible is met, those concerns regarding the price of healthcare are hitting home.
After several years of living in the post-ACA world, Americans are starting to recognize that procedures and services such as lab tests and X-rays are being paid out of their own pocket. As procedures and services are paid for just like any other commodity (car, house, dishwasher, etc), they will demand to know the cost before purchasing. This pain point is not something the hospital, outpatient facility or doctor’s office will feel but as the consumer feels it, they will demand greater transparency of price in their healthcare choices.
As often is the case, as the consumers’ expectations evolve, the providers of healthcare services will likewise evolve and they will be forced into providing pricing information. And the easiest way to distribute this information will be online. The next natural evolution of this online price transparency revolution will be the sale of out-of-pocket healthcare services online as well.
We are living in an Amazon world. So after a doctor tells a patient they need a lower back MRI for example, they will quickly learn that the cost can be determined online as well as purchased online. Greater transparency will lead to greater competition and ultimately, a bending of the cost curve to more affordable healthcare. This is the world we will find ourselves in for 2016 and beyond.
Check pricing and purchase healthcare services online here!