In 2012, the LA Times predicted the dawn of a new age for healthcare services, slated to emphasize increased consumerism. The Health Care Cost Institute recently released a study confirming the shift. The research sheds light on the industry’s current trajectory. As of 2011, “shoppable” services – defined as non-emergency treatments and procedures that can be scheduled in advance and also characterized by top-level spending amounts – accounted for as much as 43% of healthcare spending by individuals with employer-sponsored insurance plans.
Consumer shopping for the best value health care was shown to yield variable outcomes for individuals. Price discrepancies for certain procedures (notably knee and hip replacement surgeries) were found within and between different geographic markets. Still, the greatest benefits of shopping were demonstrated by those covered by high-deductible insurance plans. Since 2011, a marked increase of individuals with high deductible plans has been observed (one estimate illustrates a jump from 17% to 24%) – implying that the potential advantages of the practice are on the rise as well.
The study concludes that the effectiveness of consumer shopping faces limitations. However, the authors – along with experts at the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Health Affairs blog – suggest that the greatest reductions in healthcare costs can be achieved by working with providers in a way that insurance companies are not. The LA Times’ 2012 forecast correctly proposed that the future of the healthcare industry would be driven by new technology and consumer autonomy. But the HCCI research highlights direct provider involvement as a leading factor.
That’s why ZendyHealth collaborates with providers to establish a network that consumers can trust. The platform capitalizes on current industry trends, uniting providers with patients whose needs complement their own. ZendyHealth is designed to help providers and patients adapt to a rapidly changing healthcare industry. With a focus on providers that specialize in services qualified by the HCCI as shoppable – including medical, dental, and cosmetic treatments and procedures – ZendyHealth offers the optimal solution for today’s volatile landscape.