Ten Ways Consumer Driven Health Care Is A Proven Success

Published May 1, 2009

A revolution is underway in American health care, but you won’t read about it newspapers or see it on TV.

The revolution involves a growing number of Americans who are reclaiming their right to buy health care goods and services that they decide are beneficial. They are shrugging off the heavy hand of regulation by Washington politicians, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, hospitals, medical organizations, federal agencies, and giant employers, all of whom are fighting over who gets what of the trillions of dollars Americans spend each year on health care.

This is a Consumer Driven Health Care Revolution.

The revolution got underway six years ago, when consumers were able to redirect some of the health care money they earned into new deposits such as health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, flexible spending accounts, and insurance policies with low premiums and high deductibles.

Empowered by control over their own money, consumers increasingly demanded the information needed to make good decisions about their health care. Once they possessed both the money and information, consumers forced changes in the delivery of services to make health care more efficient, more accountable, more convenient, and certainly more affordable.

Instead of paying an insurance company for maximum coverage they were unlikely to use, increasing numbers of consumers decided to buy less-expensive insurance for expensive services and products while banking the monetary difference to pay for services only when they needed them. Employers liked the revolution, too, because it left them more money with which to raise wages or fund a savings account.

Recent studies find that consumer driven health care plans are being used by 20 percent of the privately insured population. This is an astonishing rate of growth for an approach that began just six years ago.