Consumers have been steadily taking on a larger proportion of the cost of their healthcare for more than two decades. In fact, according to figures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,1 out-of-pocket costs increased at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2000-2011.
This has prompted calls for a closer examination of costs and a rising interest in the use of transparency tools for understanding and comparing prices for a service before going to a provider.
Transparency tools have taken off in many industries—consumers price trips through Kayak, contrast car insurance prices on Progressive, and read restaurant ratings and reviews on Yelp. So why haven’t these tools captured the interest of employees who are shopping for healthcare plans?
Employers who elect to offer a healthcare transparency tool spend an average of $2 to $5 per employee per month. However, Accenture qualitative research indicates employee usage rates only range from less than 15 percent to as much as 20 percent—rates that lag published reports.
1 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Health Expenditures Aggregate, Selected Calendar Years 1960-2010, online at www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/tables.pdf