Every year, the cost of health care rises. And every year, consumers carry a bigger burden in terms of their out-of-pocket spending on health care – from hospital stays to doctor visits to prescription drugs.
Also growing is the need for and desire of consumers to become more knowledgeable about their choices and what they can do to decrease their costs.
This responsibility of health care consumers to take a more active role in weighing daily health decisions requires physicians and insurance providers to be their partners in the conversation. Collaboration – in helping consumers understand everything from pricing to treatment options – is key.
They become participants in controlling costs while maintaining a high quality of care.
At BlueCross, we take seriously our role as a health care partner. We advocate for transparency within our company and with our members. So, what does this mean?
A big part of transparency is helping consumers understand the complexities of every health care decision – not just providing our members with information, but giving them easy-to-use tools to confidently make personal choices.
We look to physician partners who engage patients in discussing their care decisions with an eye toward putting in place habits that benefit their long-term health; that is, an emphasis on preventive care rather than reactive care.
We also understand that we all succeed when relationships and data work hand in hand to help consumers effectively use their health care dollars to support their overall wellness.
Earlier this month, we launched an online financial planning tool, which allows our members to get estimates on what a common service or procedure might cost. These estimates are customized to the member’s actual benefits, so they represent a realistic breakdown of what the member and BlueCross will pay. Additionally, members are able to compare side-by-side costs from previous episodes of care provided by their available physician providers and facilities.
But getting the right care is more than just about cost. It’s about quality. That’s why our tool also incorporates quality data, including scores and patient reviews.
Consumers increasingly are being called upon to consider their options and become their own health care advocates. It is our job as their partners to give the necessary context for informed decisions and to build partnerships that empower consumers to match cost-efficiency with good health and wellness.