Price Transparency Not Keeping Up With High-Deductible Health Care Plans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Health Insurance” by Pictures of Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Allison Kratka
MD Candidate 2018
Duke University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As there are increasing numbers of high-deductible plans and those with high rates of co-insurance, patients are increasingly expected to help contain the cost of their health care by being savvy health care consumers. We set out to determine how easy or hard it is to find healthcare prices online.

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Moral Hazard Encourages Consumers To Choose More Expensive Treatment Options

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nitin Mehta PhD Associate Professor in Marketing Rotman School

Dr. Mehta

Nitin Mehta PhD
Associate Professor in Marketing
Rotman School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The focus of this paper is an investigation of the increase in health care costs associated with chronic disease in the context of consumers enrolled in employer sponsored insurance plans. Chronic illnesses – including conditions such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and kidney disease – account for nearly 75 percent of health care expenditures in the U.S. Treatments vary widely in terms of cost and impact: expensive “frontier” treatments provide the best outcome for only the seriously ill, while cheaper, established treatments prove effective for most other patients. As an example, the annual cost to an insurer for “biologics” – novel genetically modified protein drugs – is upwards of $20,000, while the more established drug – methotrexate – costs only $1,000 a year.

We investigate whether a part of the increase in healthcare costs stems from consumers opting for the more expensive treatments even when the lesser expensive treatments may have worked well. To do so, we examined data from a health insurer in the United States on the insurance plan and treatment options for 3,000 chronically ill patients over a three year period.

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Traditional Non-Medicaid Insurance Associated With Earlier Testicular Cancer Diagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sarah C. Markt, ScD, MPH
Research Associate
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health | Department of Epidemiology
Boston, MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Age is associated with insurance status, with the greatest proportion of uninsured between the ages of 20 to 34 years. For testicular cancer this is important because the median age of diagnosis is 33 years and the majority of the cases are diagnosed between then ages of 20 and 44 years. Previous studies have shown that people with cancer who are uninsured are more likely to present with worse disease, less likely to receive treatment, and are more likely to die of their disease, compared with those who have private insurance. Furthermore, the associations between Medicaid coverage and cancer outcomes have been conflicting.

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ACA Increased Rates of Health Insurance Coverage For Native Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Economics Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health / Brigham & Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Benjamin D. Sommers

Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Economics
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health / Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115 

Molly E. Frean Data Analyst Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115

Molly E. Frean

Molly E. Frean
Data Analyst
Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Sommers: We conducted this study in an effort to see how Native Americans have fared under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to the law’s expansion of coverage via Medicaid and tax credits for the health insurance marketplaces, the law also provided support for Native Americans’ health care specifically through continued funding of the Indian Health Service (IHS). We sought to see how both health insurance coverage patterns and IHS use changed in the first year of the law’s implementation.

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