Thursday, March 7, 2024

Healthcare Consumerism Is Backfiring on the Traditional Healthcare System

For years healthcare consumerism has been a buzz word used by CEOs and PR teams employed at huge health insurance companies and healthcare systems. In fact, back in the day when I worked at Cigna it was a thing. The year they aggressively promoted their high deductible health plans (HDHPs) internally to their own employees the spin was that HDHPs help lower premiums and incentivize consumers to take control of their healthcare spending. And it never fails at the beginning of every year some healthcare executive “insider” tirelessly uses the term in a quote as part of the coming year’s healthcare predictions as if it is some game changing prediction.

The term "healthcare consumerism" first gained prominence in the 1970s and 1980s as healthcare costs began to rise significantly in the US. It was initially coined by academics and healthcare professionals to emphasize the idea of patients taking a more active role in their healthcare decisions, akin to consumers in other industries. Over time, healthcare consumerism has evolved to encompass a broader concept beyond just cost-conscious decision-making, emphasizing patient empowerment, choice, and engagement with healthcare providers. Today, it reflects a shift towards a more patient-centered approach, with individuals increasingly involved in choosing their healthcare providers, treatment options, and participating in shared decision-making processes.

Regardless of its ever evolving meaning, at its core it suggests you and I should spend as much time or more shopping for our healthcare services the way we would for a car or the latest OLED tv. The problem until recently though is that even if we wanted to shop for our healthcare we couldn’t, because the traditional healthcare system is set up in a way that intentionally prevents that from happening. But with the emergence of the new parallel healthcare economy consumers being able to shop for their healthcare is finally a 2024 prediction that’s comes true, which is leaving me wondering why it did not make Nostradamus’ list.

Humor aside, in 2024 you can literally cut your healthcare costs in half in a variety of ways. If you are an employer, you can switch to a performance health plan. Performance health plans are designed by brokers who work for you instead of brokers who work for and get paid by insurance companies. The brokers who design these performance plans are mostly trained by an organization called Health Rosetta. Dave Chase, author of “The CEO’s Guide to Restoring the American Dream,” along with several like-minded healthcare professionals created Health Rosetta, which architects a blueprint for employers to provide better care for their employees at much lower costs than traditional employer plans. Founded in 2015, Health Rosetta boasts 250 accredited advisors, who are all certified experts in designing performance health plans that are currently stewarding 5 million lives.

Another way you can cut your health insurance cost in half is by ditching major medical and using supplemental insurance as your primary coverage. In recent years supplemental insurance carriers have added everyday health benefits to what they call ‘Enhanced Health Indemnity Plans’. These plans offer everything from prescription coverage to regular doctor visits, to medical imaging along with their original coverage design for more serious events such as heart attacks, cancer or strokes. Brokers nationwide are bundling these enhanced indemnity plans with accident and critical illness plans at half the cost of major medical.

But undoubtedly the most powerful way to take control of and reduce your healthcare costs is by purchasing a monthly membership from your local direct primary care doctor. There are over 3500 physicians in 2500 direct primary care (DPC) practices nationwide providing basic day to day healthcare services to over 1 million Americans. These monthly memberships are age-banded and range from $40 to $85 per person, per month or $150 per family. People can now see their family doctor without all the insurance hassles for a low monthly rate. These DPC memberships also typically do not charge copays or deductibles.

And finally, my most favorite way of all that consumers are reducing their healthcare costs is through the use of concierge patient advocates. For years insurance companies and hospitals have employed medical billing experts who would help them bill and collect predatory fees from their patients. But now those billing experts are crossing over into the new healthcare economy and working directly for patients helping them save money. These traditional system traitors known as concierge patient advocates are now using their superpowers for good. They know where to shop to find transparent prices and how to negotiate needed services based on fair market rates on behalf of the customer.

So to wrap where I started with this whole thing, the concept of healthcare consumerism has undergone significant evolution since its inception in the 1970s. And although it’s historically been used as rhetoric, it’s now a new reality that is backfiring on the traditional healthcare system as consumers shop elsewhere for their healthcare.

Healthcare Consumerism Is Backfiring on the Traditional Healthcare System

For years healthcare consumerism has been a buzz word used by CEOs and PR teams employed at huge health insurance companies and healthcare s...