For years now, many in health care have advocated that costs would go down if patients were made to act more like consumers and could compare health care costs between providers the same way they compare costs in the grocery store. It’s a good theory: if prices were known and patients had choices, it would put pressure on providers to keep costs in line. It’s the theory many insurers cited when introducing higher deductibles, saying that patients needed to have “skin in the game” to produce the behavior.
It just hasn’t worked out that way.
Prices have continued to escalate. The intended price transparency has yet to make an appearance in most cases. Pricing may not be as opaque, but it is certainly no better than the translucency of frosted glass.
While new federal rules requiring providers to post all prices on their websites went into effect in January, there is some skepticism they will produce the intended results. Several recent studies published in the Jour- nal of the American Medical Association found transparency tools were seldom used and had little effect on choice and pricing, in part because providers could not produce the data that would make them effective.
So where does that leave us in 2021? Well, here at NOVO Health we know that pricing transparency works, despite the findings in major jour- nals. We make the pricing of our bundled procedures readily accessible to employers and employees. We know it works because we can tell employ- ers just how much they saved when an employee chooses NOVO Health.
Those saving are critical for employers, freeing up capital that can be invested in tools and people to help them grow. We certainly found that to be true at Fox Valley Tool & Die, the focus of this month’s cover story (See page 12).
Using NOVO Health’s Bundled Payment Program, Fox Valley Tool & Die has realized six figure savings since 2018. The company has used the sav- ings to invest in its workforce, which it plans to grow during the next few months.
We will be exploring this transparency idea further as we prepare for our annual NOVO Health event on May 14, a virtual gathering that empowers employers with actionable information to bend the health care cost curve and generate very real opportunities to re-direct savings into workforces, facilities and communities.
Stay tuned…A lot more to come!