For years I have been saying that it is not possible to turn sick people into health care consumers; often with the chiding of “experts” and those selling high deductible health plans and HSAs.
It’s not really all that complicated. Health care is not like any other things we buy. It’s way too emotional, we mostly don’t understand what we are buying or why and we are conditioned to rely on the recommendations of our trusted health care providers.
In addition, if we are being treated for or evaluated for a possible serious health care condition, the last thing we care about is cost. This may be even more a fact when a child or other lived one is involved.
Now the evidence seems to support my point of view. The reality is HDHP may save money, but only because they shift costs to the insured.
But not all care we need is related to an emergency. Some care is elective, and so potentially “shoppable.” Scholars have estimated that as much as 30 or 40 percent of care falls into this category.
It includes things like elective joint replacements and routine checkups. And yet very few people shop for this type of care, even when they’re on the hook for the bill.
Maybe it’s just too complex. Even when price transparency tools are offered to consumers to make it easier, almost nobody uses those them.