Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
1. Provider pricing Price transparency of provider costs will not aid consumers in the least bit. Although it may help for those who are uninsured and realize actual charges, this group of people is actually closing with the ACA and will hopefully close fully in the future. For the insured, price transparency for procedures/ provider charges add little to no value to the consumer. Consumers only realize insurance costs (premiums, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance) and don't have a realy choice as to which provider they see. Insurance companies are increasingly creating narrow networks of providers that force consumers to go to certain providers that the insurance company has contracted lower prices with. These costs are then passed onto the consumer with a premium charged by the insurance company. Additionally, one could argue hat a consumer could just simply switch insurers to gain access to their preferred providers. Since most Americans receive health insurance through their employer this is usually not possible. In fact, companies specifically choose health plans that usually pass more costs to their employees in order to lower the costs to the company itself. What really needs to be regulated are health insurers. If competition between providers should be encouraged, insurers should not be able to create narrow networks where the consumer has little choice. If insurers are forced to create equal access to providers, consumers will be incentivized to go to providers where out of pocket costs are actually the lowest instead of going to a provider that the insurance company has chosen. Current regulation favors choice and pricing for insurers NOT consumers. Even with new regulation that limits the percentage of revenue that becomes profits for insurance companies, they are still not passing cost savings to consumers. In fact, the cost of premiums and out of pockets costs for consumers has outpaced the cost of the actual care given or the prices of the care. New regulation does indicate that the insurer must pass savings to the consumer. This has not been demonstrated yet.