Skip to main content

Increased patient control could put health reform back on track


As critics of the Affordable Care Act continue to grumble about how the law has adversely affected much of the nation’s healthcare system, consultant and Foundation for Health Smart Consumers fellow Mike Tarino said that giving people more control over how their healthcare dollars are spent could help quiet the critics and put what many see as a failing reform plan back on track.

(To view the full Special Report, click here.)

“We call the industry health insurance, but it’s really not an insurance industry,” he said at the recent Retail Health Summit. “It’s sort of prepaid access to care services with a little insurance thrown in. That perverts a lot of stuff.”

According to the Milliman Medical Index, a report released earlier this year by the Seattle-based actuarial firm Milliman, the average cost of health coverage for a family of four exceeds $25,000 a year. For an individual, the cost is approximately $5,000. Adding as much as another $5,000 in deductibles before that coverage kicks in has left many patients wondering if having insurance is worth the investment.

Tarino said that if payers and providers gave patients more control over how they use the healthcare services available to them, it would enhance the perception that the system provides them with significant value.

“We need to encourage them to make basic fundamental decisions like ‘what system of care do I want to orient myself to,’ and ‘who are the set of folks that I trust to guide me to achieve my health goals,’” he said. “We need to adapt our system to facilitate the connection between health care and consumers.”

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds