Health care consumers are being forced to assume a greater share of costs for treatment. But how can patients determine the value of health care services if they can’t compare costs? Lack of price transparency is a major obstacle to value-based medical decisions. In evaluating treatment options or services by different providers, consumers have no reliable means to monetize their choices. They are powerless to do anything about it—as yet. But that may well change as ACOs adapt to downside risk.
Price transparency is a tool that exclusively benefits consumers, because health plans already, obviously, know the prices they negotiated and pay. Now that ACOs are more interested in ensuring market share and patient choice to stay in the network for services, there’s an incentive to make real cost information available through cost clarity.