Entrepreneur David Williams has good insight into the limits of Health Savings Accounts as tools of consumer empowerment, discussing:
…… a consumer who did his darndest to find a good deal on a CT scan, finally settling on the $475.53 price at Coolidge Corner Imaging.
But the bill he got later was for $1,273.02 — more than twice as much — from a hospital he had no idea was connected to the imaging center.
“I was shocked,” said White, a doctor of physical therapy who thought he knew his way around the medical system. “If I get tripped up, the average consumer doesn’t have the slightest chance of effectively managing their health expenses.”
The patient wasted tons of time and effort trying to get the problem cleared up. He cared since he had a high deductible plan.
In my view, high deductible plans are a pretty crude instrument to encourage cost consciousness and price transparency. (David Williams, MedCityNews, June 2, 2015)
I agree. NCPA has long championed HSAs. However, stories like the one discussed here are too common. HSAs need to become more than a way to shift costs from premium to out of pocket. Health insurers need to get out of the business of fixing prices.
If we had not been distracted by Obamacare, we might be there by now. Hopefully, we’ll be back on track before too long. I have proposed a “common law” solution to the problem of price transparency. Read more about it here.