New reports out on health care costs, transparency and new insurance strategies

dollar-signsThree reports – all on various aspects of health care costs – caught my eye today:

The State of the Art of Price Transparency Tools and Solutions
report released today by Catalyst for Payment Reform examines the price transparency tools and solutions. A summary can be found in the Health Affairs blog. An AHCJ webcast on Dec. 12 will feature CPR’s executive director and Katherine Hempstead of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a discussion about transparency in health care costs.

Trends in health care cost growth and the role of the Affordable Care Act
This White House report analyzes recent trends in health care costs, the forces driving those trends, and their likely economic benefits. It states that health care spending growth is the lowest on record and that, “while the causes of the slowdown are not yet fully understood, the evidence available to date supports several conclusions about the slowdown and the role of the ACA.”

Reference Pricing: Will Price Caps Help Contain Health Care Costs?
On Nov. 18, 2013, a panel of experts addressed a strategy employers have begun known as “reference pricing” to help reduce health care costs. Employees get insurance plans that set price caps on certain services and procedures. Enrollees can use any provider. But if they use providers with fees higher than the “reference price,” they must pay the difference between the reference price limit, determined by the employer or insurer, and the actual charge. The transcript and video are available here. The event was sponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and WellPoint.

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