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The latest news from HCCI

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May
23

Health Payer Intelligence: Pros and Cons of High Cost Sharing for Employer Health Plans

 By Thomas BeatonEmployer-sponsored health plans that include high cost sharing expectations can help control spending for plan sponsors, but could create longer-term health risks for employee beneficiaries. Striking the right balance between lowering costs and enabling healthy decision-making can be a challenge for employers and payers looking to design cost-effective plans. How can plan spo...
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May
09

Becker's Hospital Review: Hospital pricing for privately insured varies by market structure - 6 study findings

By: Kelly Gooch A newly revised study reveals insights into monopoly pricing, finding hospital market structure is strongly linked with pricing and insurer contract structure.For the study, researchers primarily examined private insurance claims data from Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth. The data, provided by the Health Care Cost Institute, covers healthcare received by 28 percent of Americans...
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May
01

Vox: She didn’t get treated at the ER. But she got a $5,751 bill anyway.

 By: Sarah KliffOn October 19, 2016, Jessica Pell fainted and hit her head on a nearby table, cutting her ear. She went to the emergency room at Hoboken University Medical Center, where she was given an ice pack. She received no other treatment. She never received any diagnosis. But a bill arrived in the mail for $5,751."It's for the ice pack and the bandage," Pell said of the fee. "That is t...
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Apr
30

Business Wire: Vitals Reduced Medical Spending for Employers by $56M. Three people every hour shop and save on their health care

 Vitals today released its 2018 Book of Business report. The annual summary reports the metrics associated with shopping activity and savings achieved by employers and employees using Vitals SmartShopper.SmartShopper is a high-tech, high-touch health care program that allows consumers to shop for and choose better-value medical care. Over the past four years, SmartShopper has generated over $...
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Apr
12

Health Exec: Drug competition didn’t stop sharp increase in MS spending

By: John Gregory Between 2009 and 2015, spending on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) greatly increased, with disease modifying therapies (DMTs) accounting for 82 percent of that increase as prices jumped every year and use slightly declined.The report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) examined claims for people with MS from 2009 to 2015 covered by individual market, employer-spo...
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Mar
23

HCCI's Response to Senate Request for Feedback on Price Transparency

On February 28, 2018, HCCI, among other key stakeholders, was asked to provide feedback to several questions posed by six U.S. Senators on the issue of health care price transparency. The Senators are launching a bipartisan effort to increase health care price and information transparency to empower patients, improve the quality of health care, and lower health care costs. Feedback was due March 2...
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Mar
19

CNN Money: $12,000 for a bee sting? Emergency room visits get even pricier

 By: Tami Luhby Sylvia Rosas decided to go to the emergency room after getting stung by a bee in her yard in Valrico, Florida. She had experienced allergic reactions in the past, but didn't have an EpiPen on hand.However, what really hurt was the $12,000 bill she received for the visit to the ER.The 53-year-old said she was seen by several doctors, who ordered thousands of dollars in blo...
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Mar
14

Health Affairs: Disinvesting In Primary Care?

By: Christopher Koller and Margaret O'KaneThe Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) released its analysis of 2016 health spending for a group of commercial insurers last month. The report is a trove of information that, like all good analyses, suggests more questions than it answers. Buried in the report—in figure 15—is an alarming trend that should rise to the top of analysts' areas for further inves...
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Mar
07

Times Free Press: Cost of care growing for adults with hypertension

 By: Elizabeth FiteHypertension, or high blood pressure, affects the health and wallets of more than 75 million U.S. adults, and the cost of managing this condition is growing, according to a new study from the Health Care Cost Institute.The study released Tuesday analyzed data from employer-sponsored health insurance claims of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 and found that adults w...
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Mar
05

KHN: Need A Medical Procedure? Pick The Right Provider And Get Cash Back

Laurie Cook went shopping recently for a mammogram near her home in New Hampshire. Using an online tool provided through her insurer, she plugged in her ZIP code. Up popped facilities in her network, each with an incentive amount she would be paid if she chose it.Paid? To get a test? It's part of a strategy to rein in health care spending by steering patients to the most cost-effective providers f...
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Mar
02

Crain's Chicago Business: This fast-growing doctors group is betting it all on hips and knees

Baby boomers are living longer, getting their aching hips and knees replaced as they age. That puts Illinois Bone & Joint Institute in the sweet spot of medicine.Hip and knee replacements are among the most common surgeries in the U.S.—and they're pricey. Everything involved in replacing one, from surgery to the weeks of rehab that follow, costs an average $36,000, according to Guroo, a site c...
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Feb
23

Health Payer Intelligence: Medicare Advantage Evaluation Requires Transparent Claims Data

 By Thomas BeatonFebruary 23, 2018 - The growth of the Medicare Advantage (MA) market requires the release of more claims data to evaluate the commercial and government impact of the program, according to a recent JAMA commentary from the Health Care Cost Institute, ProPublica, and the VA."Despite the important and increasing role of Medicare Advantage plans, there is fairly little insight in...
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Feb
15

RevCycle Intelligence: Hospital Cost-Shifting Increases Private Payer Payments by 1.6%

Healthcare organizations that faced Medicare reimbursement reductions under the Affordable Care Act engaged in hospital cost-shifting that resulted in 1.6 percent higher average payments from private payers, a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research uncovered.Researchers reported that hospitals penalized under the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) and the Hospit...
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Feb
14

A Valentine’s Day-Themed Health Care Spending Map

Valentine's Day is the second-most popular day to pop the question, and millions of couples are expected to get engaged today. According to The Knot's 2017 Jewelry and Engagement Study, the average national cost for an engagement ring in the U.S. is $6,351, just under $1,000 more than average national health care spending per person ($5,407 in 2016). And just like average health care costs, the av...
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Jan
30

CNN Money: Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon want to fix health care

By: Chris Isidore Amazon is partnering with Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, the nation's largest bank, to try to address one of the nation's thorniest and priciest problems -- soaring health care costs.The three companies unveiled an as yet unnamed company to give their U.S. workers and families a better option on health insurance. The statement said the new company will be "...
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Jan
24

The Hill: Americans using less health care, but paying more for it

 By: Jessie HellmanHealth-care spending has increased because prices are rising, not because Americans are using more health care, according to a new study released Tuesday. The report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) showed that total health-care spending grew by 4.6 percent per person from 2015 to 2016 even as utilization of services remained steady, or declined in some cases.As a...
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Jan
24

Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Costs Rose for Americans With Employer-Sponsored Insurance

By: Jeanne WhalenSpending on health care accelerated in 2016 for Americans who get insurance through work, even as use of most health-care services declined or remained flat. The reason, according to a new report: price increases.Rising prices for prescription drugs, surgery, emergency-room visits and other services drove a 4.6% increase in total spending per person, versus 4.1% in 2015 and less t...
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Jan
23

News Wise: Plotting the Downward Trend in Traditional Hysterectomy

​Fewer women are getting hysterectomies in every state across the country. Instead, more patients may be choosing minimally invasive procedures or other alternatives to handle issues like pelvic pain and fibroids over a traditional abdominal hysterectomy, new Michigan Medicine research suggests.The rate of hysterectomies in the U.S. decreased 12 percent between 2010 and 2013, from nearly 40 t...
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Jan
23

Axios: We're using less health care, but paying more

By: Sam BakerHealth care spending is up. Way up. That's because prices are up — not because we're using more health care, according to newly published data from the Health Care Cost Institute.The numbers that matter: Health care spending grew by 4.5% from 2015 to 2016, yet utilization was steady — or, in some cases, actually declined — during the same period. According to HCCI's analysis, which is...
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Jan
23

Miami Herald: Working Americans are using less healthcare but paying more for it

By: Daniel ChangMost Americans have health coverage through their jobs, but that doesn't mean they are better off when it comes to spending for their care, according to a five-year analysis of billions of insurance claims by the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute.In a study published Tuesday, HCCI found that working Americans used less healthcare but paid more for it every year from 2012 to 2016...
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Jan
23

POLITICO Pulse: Spending growth outpaces need for care

By: Dan Diamond Indiana is abuzz with news that the Trump administration this week will approve the state's pending Medicaid waiver, which would add a work requirement for able-bodied adults, multiple sources tell POLITICO's Rachana Pradhan.Indiana's pioneering conservative Medicaid model — which CMS Administrator Seema Verma helped develop as a consultant and then-Gov. Mike Pence used to expand M...
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Jan
23

WebMD: Spending More on Health Care? Here's Why

 By Robert PreidtAmericans spent more on health care in 2016, even though their use of health care did not increase, and rising costs are the reason why, a new report shows."It is time to have a national conversation on the role of price increases in the growth of health care spending," said Niall Brennan, president of the Health Care Cost Institute. The institute is a non-partisan, nonprofit...
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Jan
23

Washington Post: Working Americans are using less health care, but spending more

By: Carolyn JohnsonAmericans who get health insurance through their jobs are not using more medical care than they were five years ago, but they are spending more due to soaring medical prices, according to a new report.Health spending for the more than 150 million people who receive insurance through their employers was $5,407 per person in 2016. That is a 4.6 percent increase over 2015, even tho...
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Jan
05

Doctors Lounge: Socioeconomic Factors Associated With Opioid Prescriptions

​Among disabled Medicare beneficiaries, county-level socioeconomic factors are associated with opioid prescriptions, with more prescriptions seen with lower socioeconomic indicators, according to a study published in the January issue of Medical Care.Chao Zhou, Ph.D., from the Health Care Cost Institute in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined opioid prescriptions of disabled Medicare benefici...
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Dec
08

Advisory Board: ED visits down - but ED facility fee spending is up, Vox analysis suggests

Spending on emergency department (ED) facility fees rose steadily between 2009 and 2015, even as the overall number of ED fees billed declined, according to an analysis of Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) data, Sarah Kliff writes for Vox. However, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is pushing back against the findings, noting that the analysis examined only spending by employer-s...
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Dec
05

Healthcare Dive: ER facility fees skyrocket faster than outpatient or overall healthcare spending

 By: Les MastersonDive Brief:Hospital emergency room (ER) facility fees increased 89% between 2009 and 2015, which is twice as fast as outpatient care and four times as fast as overall healthcare spending, reported Vox and Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) in a new report.Vox and HCCI analyzed 70 million insurance bills for ER visits. The analysis focused on facility fees and not the hospital...
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Dec
04

Vox: Emergency rooms are monopolies. Patients pay the price.

By: Sarah Kliff Around 1 am on August 20, Ismael Saifan woke up with a terrible pain in his lower back, likely the result of moving furniture earlier that day."It was a very sharp muscle pain," Saifan, a 39-year-old engineer, remembers. "I couldn't move or sleep in any position. I was trying laying down, sitting down, nothing worked."Saifan went online to figure out where he could see a docto...
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Nov
28

ProPublica: A Hospital Charged $1,877 to Pierce a 5-Year-Old's Ears. This Is Why Health Care Costs So Much.

By: Marshall AllenThis story was co-published with NPR's Shots blog.Two years ago, Margaret O'Neill brought her 5-year-old daughter to Children's Hospital Colorado because the band of tissue that connected her tongue to the floor of her mouth was too tight. The condition, literally called being "tongue-tied," made it hard for the girl to make "th" sounds.It's a common problem with a simple fix: an...
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Sep
02

Modern Healthcare: Q&A with Brennan - "You are going to have more of an interest in what services actually cost"

Three months ago, Niall Brennan was appointed president and executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on improving price transparency through the use of insurance data. He succeeds David Newman, a health policy expert who had led the organization since its founding in 2011. Brennan was the CMS first chief data office...
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Aug
31

Wall Street Journal: The Math Behind Higher Health-Care Deductibles

 By. Melanie Evans, Yaryna Serkez, and Merrill Sherman More U.S. workers are taking a bigger out-of-pocket hit from their employer-provided health plans. Blame high deductibles.High-deductible plans required patients to spend $2,200 to $4,300, on average, in 2016 before insurance kicked in, and amounts can be significantly more. Employers have embraced high deductibles to cut the amount ...
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Aug
07

New York Times: Medicare Advantage Spends Less on Care, So Why Is It Costing So Much?

By: Austin Frakt  The Medicare Advantage program was supposed to save taxpayers money by allowing insurers to offer older Americans private alternatives to Medicare. The plans now cover 19 million people, a third of all those who qualify for Medicare. Enrollee satisfaction is generally high, and studies show that plans offer higher quality than traditional Medicare. But the government pa...
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May
17

Becker's Hospital Review: 20 key takeaways on medical service prices - inpatient, outpatient, and physician services

By: Laura DyrdaThe Health Care Cost Institute issued the "Healthy Marketplace Index: Medical Service Category Price Index" report for 2017 in April. The report calculates metrics comparing aspects of price, competition and productivity of healthcare markets over time, which shows trends for potential future research. The report includes data for inpatient, outpatient and physician medical services...
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Apr
27

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare costs vary widely by region

By: Maria Castellucci The best solutions to decrease the high costs of healthcare services may not be solved at the federal level but in states and their communities, a new study suggests. The report, published by researchers this week at the Health Care Cost Institute, found costs of services vary dramatically depending on a patient's zip code. For example, patients in El Paso, Texas, paid 2...
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Apr
27

NBC News: U.S. Health Care Prices Are All Over the Map, New Study Finds

By: Maggie Fox Why does a knee replacement cost $29,000 in Kansas but $40,000 in next-door Colorado?Health care prices are all over the map in the U.S., a new study finds. It digs deeply into the crazy pattern of health costs across the U.S. and shows there is very little consistency. The report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) finds prices for the same procedures vary by somet...
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Jan
09

Slate: A Failed Cure for Health Care Costs

By: Helaine Olen It's a new year, and you know what that means: Your health insurance deductible just reset. Which for many of us means looking forward to paying a significant amount out of pocket for health care until we've spent enough for our insurance payments to kick in. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2016, the average deductible for an American with employer-base...
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Nov
23

CNBC: Health-care spending increased at a faster pace in 2015 as prices rose

By: Dan ManganSpending on health care for people who have private insurance accelerated last year, ending a two-year period of more modest spending growth, a new study finds.In 2015, overall spending for people with private health insurance increased by 4.6 percent, according to the Health Care Cost Institute report. Most of that increase, again, was due to higher prices for prescription drugs and...
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Nov
22

Health Payer Intelligence: Deductibles, Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending Rose 3% in 2015

By: Vera Gruessner Healthcare spending within the private health insurance market has grown 4.6 percent in 2015, according to a press release from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). This type of growth in spending is higher than in recent years. For instance, healthcare spending in 2014 saw a 2.6 percent rise while 2013 spending increased by 3 percent.The HCCI study, called the 2015 Healt...
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Sep
14

Washington Post: How companies are quietly changing your health plan to make you pay more

 By: Carolyn JohnsonWhile politicians have been embroiled in a fiery debate over President Obama's signature health-care law, a quiet but profound shift is fundamentally reshaping how health insurance works for the roughly 155 million Americans who receive coverage through their employers.A national survey of employer health benefits released Wednesday shows how much deductibles — the health-...
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Sep
13

CNBC: High-deductible plans tied to lower health use, higher out-of-pocket spending

By: Dan ManganYour less expensive health insurance plan could cost you — even if you use less health care.People in so-called consumer-driven health plans tend to use fewer medical services than people with other types of coverage, a new study finds.But they also tend to spend substantially more out of their own pocket at the same time, both in dollar terms and as a share of their overall health c...
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Jun
20

Kaiser Health News: As Childhood Diabetes Rates Rise, So Do Costs — And Families Feel the Pinch

 By: Carmen Heredia Rodriguez Childhood diabetes rates are on the rise, and a report released Monday pointed to the impact that the cost of their care could have on families — even those who have employer-sponsored health insurance.The study, conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), found that children as old as 18 with diabetes who were insured through an employer-sponsored p...
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Jun
20

Star Tribune: The dollars pile up with diabetes

By: Christopher Snowbeck Per capita spending on patients with diabetes hit $16,021 in 2014, which was an increase of about 6 percent or $897 from the previous year, according to a report released Monday.The average person in an employer plan during 2014, meanwhile, wracked up $4,396 in medical spending, which was up 3 percent compared with the previous year.The numbers come from the Health Ca...
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May
16

U.S. News & World Report: Cost for Kids' Medical Care Increasing

By: Kimberly LeonardU.S. CHILDREN COVERED by their parents' employer insurance have made fewer visits to medical facilities and used less medical care in recent years, but spending on their care has gone up, according to a report released Monday.The report, from the Health Care Cost Institute, shows that from 2010 to 2014 spending per child age 18 and younger increased by an average of 5.1 percent...
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May
16

CNBC: Children are using health services less - but medical costs still rising

 By: Dan ManganKids are going to the doctor's office and emergency rooms less often, and even using fewer prescription drugs — but overall health spending on children is still going up.A study released Monday by the Health Care Cost Institute indicates that price increases for health services and brand-name drugs were the biggest drivers of higher overall medical spending on kids from 2010 th...
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May
05

Healthzette: The Health Savings We’re Missing - Cost transparency tools exist ... yet we're not using them

 By: Kristen Fischer We have the tools to shop around and save on health care costs — but we aren't using them. A new Harvard Medical School study reveals that consumer access to price transparency tools doesn't make them any more popular or likely to decrease health care spending.Do we not want to save money, especially in a health care climate in which out-of-pocket costs are soaring? ...
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Apr
28

Becker's Hospital Review: No 2 prices the same - 13 different findings on healthcare price variation across the U.S.

By: Kelly Gooch Commercially insured Americans in some states pay more than twice what their counterparts in other states pay for healthcare, according to a study from the Health Care Cost Institute.The study, published in Health Affairs, is accompanied by HCCI's National Chartbook of Health Care Prices—2015, which highlights differences in prices for more than 240 common medical services in ...
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Apr
27

USA Today: Huge health care price differences even within same area, by state

 By: Jayne O'DonnellHuge variations exist in the prices of some of the most common medical procedures across state lines, by according to a report major insurers released Wednesday, but some experts say the data is of little use to consumers who rarely know what they owe until the bills arrive.The insurer-funded Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) won't disclose which hospitals or doctors are t...
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Apr
27

Modern Healthcare: The striking variation of commercial healthcare prices

By: Bob HermanPrice and utilization are the two essential elements of the nation's health spending tab, and seemingly wild differences in prices for common medical procedures appear to be driving that bill up a lot.One of the most comprehensive, independent studies of commercial healthcare prices shows that employers and insurers that provide private health coverage can pay a lot more for services...
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Apr
27

Vox: How much does the chicken pox vaccine cost? Depends on where you live

By: Sarah Kliff How much you pay for health care often depends on one key fact: where you live.A new study of more than 1 billion medical bills makes this fact abundantly clear. It shows huge variation in the price of basic medical procedures like ultrasounds, annual physicals, or cataract removals.Consider this: An ultrasound for pregnancy costs an average of $183 in Canton, Ohio. But drive ...
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Apr
27

NPR: That Surgery Might Cost You A Lot Less In Another Town

By: Alison Kodjak Need knee replacement surgery? It may be worthwhile to head for Tucson.That's because the average price for a knee replacement in the Arizona city is $21,976, about $38,000 less than it would in Sacramento, Calif. That's according to a report issued Wednesday by the Health Care Cost Institute.The report, called the National Chartbook on Health Care Prices, uses claims and pa...
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Mar
18

Forbes: Don't Be Fooled - Patients Can Shop For Healthcare

By: Yevgeniy FeymanPrice and quality transparency in health care has often been seen as the missing link for extracting more value out of our health care system. With the appropriate financial incentives, along with easily accessible cost estimators and information on physician and hospital quality, patients could flock to the lowest-cost, highest-quality providers.But a new study by the Health Ca...
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