H2R Forecast Brief: How Much Does Health Care Cost? Altarum's Wendy Lynch Spells Out How Employers Can Bring Value Back to the Health Benefits Equation

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H2R Forecast Brief features new research from the Commonwealth Fund that finds provider prices--rather than volume of services--drive costs in the private health insurance market. Widely varying prices can be tied to whether hospitals compete against each other for customers.

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New research from the Commonwealth Fund finds that provider prices--rather than volume of services--drive costs in the private health insurance market.

In the U.S., 2015 is the year we spent $3.207 trillion for health care. That's $3,207 with nine zeroes behind it--a number too large for most of us to comprehend.

New research from the Commonwealth Fund finds that provider prices--rather than volume of services--drive costs in the private health insurance market. Widely varying prices can be tied to whether hospitals compete against each other for customers.

The value factors we typically apply to other purchases--price and quality--rarely apply to how we buy health care, says Wendy Lynch, Ph.D., in a forecast brief available from Health2 Resources' Primary Care Learning Network, How much does health care cost? Most patients don't have the opportunity to compare value, and they aren't in the habit of asking price questions when it comes to health care. In fact, fewer than 50 percent of consumers have ever asked about the price of a health care service before receiving the service.

How much health care really costs--in terms of dollars, lost productivity and employee retention--is explored by Lynch. She spells out how employers--still the majority payer for health care coverage in the country--can bring value back to the health benefits equation. The brief provides examples of successful efforts to introduce clarity to the way we evaluate and select health care services, as well as action steps employers can take to align health benefit design with better health, reduced absenteeism and lower costs.

The forecast brief is available here.

About Wendy Lynch, Ph.D., Altarum Institute Fellow
For 30 years, Wendy Lynch has been making the connection between human and business performance. Her career has included roles as faculty at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, senior scientist at Health Decisions International, and principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Lynch runs a consulting firm focused on health and business performance. She has applied her skills in research design and evaluation to several pivotal studies in the fields of consumer engagement, health management, productivity assessment, and human capital management. A frequent speaker and the author of more than 50 articles and reports, she also has two books, Aligning Incentives, Information and Choice and Who Survives: How Benefits Costs are Killing Your Company. She holds a doctorate in research and evaluation methodology from University of Colorado Boulder.

About Health2 Resources
Founded in 1998, Health2 Resources is a full-service communications and public relations firm that exclusively serves health care clients throughout the U.S. by offering a full range of research and public relations support. It works closely with local, state and federal policymakers and regulatory agencies to build and improve relationships on behalf of a mix of clients that buy, pay for, provide and evaluate health care. Visit Health2 Resources at http://www.health2resources.com.

About the Primary Care Learning Network
Health2 Resources' Primary Care Learning Network is a vehicle for health care thought leaders to share ideas and analysis through forecast briefs, white papers, webinars and other media. The PCLN amplifies leading-edge voices and offers a learning hub for payers, providers and employers seeking penetrating insights into health care challenges and solutions. Contact Health2 Resources to learn more at http://www.health2resources.com.

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