Health Care Consumerism: Increasing Transparency to Aid Decision-Making

“Health Care Consumerism” is a three-part series that looks at how patients are increasingly managing their own health care decisions. With the expansion of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), patients seek greater transparency, affordability and convenience as they consider what options work best for their budgets and health care needs. This series examines some of the key trends in health care consumerism and how CVS Health is working to empower patients and improve their health care experiences.

Evaluating Health Care Options

The U.S. health care system was not built to provide consumers with the same kind of ease to access information they might expect when purchasing other types of goods and services, such as televisions or oil changes. Details about the cost and quality of health services and treatments can be much more opaque. Oftentimes, patients may not know how much they have to pay until after receiving care.

Fortunately, new tools that provide transparency into the types of health services available and the overall cost of care are helping patients make more informed choices. More than 80 percent of people who have compared health care cost and treatment information online report that they will do it again.i At CVS Health, we believe patients should have more transparency into their health care costs and are helping them access the care and medicines they need at an affordable price.

Arming Consumers with the Right Information

As enrollment in HDHPs continues to grow, consumers who have not yet met their deductible may find themselves surprised by out-of-pocket costs after visiting a provider or when filling a prescription. In fact, more than 15 percent of consumers enrolled in these types of plans report difficulties paying for medical bills after receiving care.i

To empower consumers to make more informed health care decisions, CVS Health is providing solutions and tools that offer a direct line of sight into what is covered under their benefit plans and expanding visibility into lower-cost care alternatives. Our transparency efforts include:

  • Ensuring that consumers can locate the cost of the 125 services available at our 1,100 MinuteClinic locations nationwide through a comprehensive online price list
  • A new tool, the Rx Savings Finder, which enables our 30,000 retail pharmacists to quickly and seamlessly review a patient’s prescription regimen, medication history and benefit plans to identify the lowest-cost medication option available. The tool allows consumers and their pharmacists to openly evaluate and discuss medicine costs at the pharmacy counter.
  • Bringing greater drug price transparency to the point of prescribing through “real-time benefits,” which allow prescribers to immediately review the member-specific cost for a selected drug, and identify the lowest-cost, clinically appropriate therapeutic alternatives available on a member’s formulary. CVS Caremark members can also access this information through their member portal and mobile app.

For more information on how CVS Health is working to expand access to more affordable and effective health care, check out our Cost of Care information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.

05.31.18

i  https://www.publicagenda.org/pages/how-much-will-it-cost