Health Care Topic: Consumer Choice

Topics: Consumer Choice
Aug 13, 2012

A majority of consumers want to be able to do more for themselves when managing chronic illness. This response comes following an announcement this spring that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a move to let them do just that: test themselves and get prescription medications for chronic conditions without seeing a doctor.

Topics: Consumer Choice
Aug 6, 2012

For a variety of economic, legal and cultural reasons, Americans frequently receive care that will provide them little to no benefit. According to estimates, the U.S. health care system wastes between $250-$325 billion annually on unnecessary care; $6.8 billion of that is spent on 12 common unnecessary tests and treatments. Some (if not most) of the pressure to avoid unnecessary and/or harmful services must come from the intended recipients of those services.

Jun 28, 2012

This is the second in a two-part series. To read the first part, click here.

Jun 26, 2012

This is the first in a two-part series.

Account-based health plans--health insurance plans paired with health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA)--are the fastest growing product in the market for employer-based group health plans. There is no disputing the fact that the number of employers offering group health plan coverage to their employees has declined as the cost of providing coverage has increased. It is my opinion that account-based health plans have helped arrest this decline.

Topics: Consumer Choice
Jun 20, 2012

At Altarum's Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, we're working to increase individual involvement in health care decisions.  Unfortunately, when one brings up "consumerism," some listeners assign a political label to the issue and either embrace or dismiss it depending on their affiliation. In some cases the term has become equated with an overemphasis on cost management or unfair shifting of responsibility.

Jun 5, 2012

By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Wenger calls herself a self-reliant “German Midwesterner” who hates to complain. But the Wisconsin mom was dismayed when husband Dan’s employer switched to an insurance plan that increased the family’s medical expenses tenfold.

May 31, 2012

Overuse of health care is moving into the policy spotlight as a critical—and addressable—cost and quality issue. Overuse—providing care that is not medically warranted or expensive services that don’t add value over less costly ones—contributes to our high national health care costs. Strategies to address overuse are critical to improving quality, reducing health care costs and eliminating “waste” in the health care system.

May 1, 2012

“I’m thinking of getting a full-body CT scan,” Jane said. “What do you think?” Here was a healthy, active 72-year-old with no specific symptoms considering an expensive screening test. When asked for a reason, she shared that strokes run in her family and a doctor told her that she might be able to see if there was a possible bulge in a blood vessel in her brain. Plus, while they were looking, the scan could see if there was some other problem.

Topics: Consumer Choice
Mar 6, 2012

Health Savings Accounts are growing up. No longer an oddity, millions of families have accounts funded by tens of thousands of employers (1). After almost a decade, the cumulative evidence about consumer-directed health plans is quite compelling. For those waiting and wondering if CDHPs “work,” three recent reports provide a convincing answer.

Mar 5, 2012

Center for Sustainable Health Spending colleagues George Miller, Ph.D. and Paul Hughes-Cromwick have the following thoughts.


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