A proposal in Utah would provide patients with rebates if they choose the lower price of medical care.
Utah lawmaker Norm Thurston proposed a scheme that would require the Public Employee Health Plan (PEHP) to reimburse 50% of what patients save by choosing less expensive options. For instance, if you choose to pay $500 instead of $1,000 for a knee arthroscopy procedure in Utah County, PEHP will send you $250.
Shopping for healthcare
Thurston believes that the proposal will help in lowering healthcare costs, which have been increasing due to patients not choosing the most affordable option. While this bill excludes private insurance companies in the state, he expects Utahns to consider shopping around for quality medical price at a lower price.
Because of higher healthcare bills, the price of prescription medicine increased as well. Lawmakers in Utah and other states have sought certain ways to slash prices for drugs. The National Academy for State Health Policy said that the move has gained traction with 87 proposals in 34 states that want more affordable prescription medicine.
Some of the proposals in Utah and Vermont involve prescription drug imports from Canada, while Maryland ponders on a plan to create a regulatory body for medicine prices. Canadian imports could be a viable solution since prices there cost 30% less on average than the U.S.
However, the proposals would likely face opposition from healthcare groups such as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The group believes that some of the bills may affect public health, due to the uncertainty of determining product quality.
The proposed reimbursement bill in Utah would only prove that it pays to shop around for cheaper yet quality healthcare. Are you willing to spend time and effort to search for a lower-priced medical procedure?