If all employers adopted reference pricing for certain health care services, the potential total savings could reach $9.4 billion, according to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). This amount would be 1.6 percent of all spending on health care services among the 156 million people under age 65 who have employment-based health benefits in 2010, EBRI said.
The research was done by Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Education and Research Program, and M. Christopher Roebuck, Ph.D., president and CEO of RxEconomics LLC. The report is available for download from the EBRI site.
Under reference pricing, an employer or any health care payer would pay a set amount for specific health care services, such as hip or knee surgeries. Then the employees or health plan members using those services would pay the difference in price if they chose a more costly health care provider or service.