The World Health Organization estimates that consumers now directly control $330 billion annually in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. In addition, the Employee Benefit Research Institute/Greenwald & Associates’ 2017 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) found that when considering whether to stay in or choose a new job, health care insurance was extremely important to 60% of workers.
I maintain that consumers driving health care is how we will achieve the affordable, transparent, accountable health care we all deserve, and elaborated on this point in my books Bill Please: Consumers Driving Health Care and Fill The Gap: Saving Consumer-Driven Health Care.
Elizabeth Rosenthal, former emergency room doctor turned journalist and author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back (2017), recently wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times that I think is so important in our effort to achieve consumer-driven health care, I want to summarize here.
She calls for a Patient Financial Bill of Rights, pointing out that the Patient Bill of Rights hospitals and doctors hung on their wall beginning in the 1970s needs updated to reflect now.
She states it should go something like this:
These are the bare minimum consumers have the right to expect. I believe we have the right to expect exactly the same, if not even more given the importance of our health and medical care, when it comes to shopping that we receive from other industries, which would add even more to this list. Think about what you expect of all of the companies vying for your business – what information do they provide to win your dollars? Estimates? Quotes? Calculators? Quote Guarantees? Best Price? Independent Reviews? With that in mind, what else would you add to this Patient Financial Bill of Rights?
Rylan Klaseen & Associates
Serving Southern California: