No one seems to have a problem with shopping for the best price when it comes to a new computer or a car. But there’s something about shopping for health care prices that seems different. It’s also a lot harder. Prices aren’t transparent. The L.A. Times reported earlier this month on the challenges individual patients can have in trying to find the best price.
At the same time, consumers have become more concerned about cost. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums for family coverage have more than doubled in the last ten years — 113 percent — and the share the worker pays of the premium is up even more — 131 percent.
The cost of health care has been going up, faster than the rate of inflation. The federal health care overhaul takes aim at this problem and seeks to lower cost and improve quality of care at the same time. One program gaining traction is through focusing insurance design on value. For example, some plans reward healthy behaviors, such as quitting smoking or exercising regularly. Continue reading