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Nonstop Blog:

Access to health care prices doesn’t lower spending, study finds - The Boston Globe

Felice J. Freyer of the Boston Globe writes about how publishing the cost of health care services does not actually lead to decreased consumer spending on those services.

Read the full article at: www.bostonglobe.com

A study recently published out of the Harvard Medical School revealed that out of 149,000 employees given access to an online tool that revealed the out-of-pocket costs of health care services, only 10% actually used the tool.

Even more surprising, those that used the online tool didn't, on average, spend less than a separate cohort who did not have access to health care service pricing information.

“There’s been a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement about increasing price transparency,” said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, a health care policy professor at Harvard Medical and senior author of the study. “We really need to temper that enthusiasm, because giving people tools like this isn’t enough.”

The main barrier for consumers trying to find the most cost effective, high quality services is the difficultly of using insurers' websites and price information tools. Numerous experts have examined the Harvard Medical School study and argue against the pricing tool used, as it was difficult to use - which may have contributed to fewer consumers using it or understanding the pricing information they were given.

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