The Payer in the Waiting Room

people in waiting room

Note: This is an excerpt of an article originally that appeared on HMFA NJ

In recent years, consumers have become responsible for a greater percentage of the cost of the healthcare services they purchase. However, this has created new hardships for patients and providers.

The idea is that shifting costs to consumers, typically in the form of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), will incentivize them to make informed and judicious decisions about the healthcare services they purchase. That’s how it works in pretty much every other industry, so why not healthcare?

For generations, though, healthcare has worked differently. Traditionally, patients have placed their decision-making in the hands of trusted advisers – physicians and others focused on the clinical experience – and didn’t need to think about how the cost of care would affect them, because they generally enjoyed health plans with rich benefits – i.e., low deductibles.

Today, this transition to consumerism in healthcare is an essential component of aligning value with higher-quality, lower-cost care. However, the healthcare system is unlikely to arrive at that point unless patients – the people who clearly have the highest vested interest in their own health and financial outcomes – take a more active role in decision-making around their care. Read more >>

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