The Affordable Care Act is having an unexpected impact on consumer attitudes about healthcare. In turning the health insurance industry into a retail marketplace, Obamacare is causing consumers to take a closer look at what they’re getting for their medical dollar. Not only are consumers starting to demand greater transparency about medical costs, they’re also starting to demand greater value from healthcare expenditures. And those expectations are filtering through the entire healthcare chain from insurers and hospitals to family practitioners and dentists.
The sea change in consumer attitude about health care was revealed in a recently-released study conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute. Right now everyone’s talking about price point and premium costs, Ceci Connolly, the Institute’s managing director, told MarketWatch.com. But what that’s really going to transition into is what value am I getting for my dollar?
The bottom line, the Institute says, is that healthcare providers at all levels are going to have to become more consumer-friendly. Price is expected to be a driving force in effecting healthcare change. As consumers are forced to pay an increasing share of their healthcare costs through higher co-pays and insurance deductibles, the Institute expects consumer choices about health care to become more retail-oriented.
Consumers may soon be applying the same cost-benefit comparison-shopping decision-making process to health care that they now apply to buying a smartphone or HDTV. Which means that brand-building is going to become increasingly important to medical practices as a way of adding value to the services they provide.
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