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We are now at a point with our health care system that as consumers, we need to step up to make a difference and start changing our behavior. Consumers have the power to control some of the health care costs by becoming more cost-conscious when purchasing health care services, determining the best value (price and quality) before we even visit a provider, eliminating wasteful spending on unnecessary procedures/overpriced services, and educating ourselves about recommended tests and alternative treatments.

It is impossible for consumers to comparison shop to find the best value simply because of the lack of meaningful price transparency data (tools) for even the most routine health care services. Instead of waiting for legislation to pass, complicated reforms to be initiated, expensive applications to be developed, or the government to decide how to reform our current health care system, consumers should collaborate to share true health care prices from actual patient visits. A platform has already been created for collecting and sharing price information to help consumers find the best value for routine health care services in their area. Until the government requires collection, auditing and dissemination of claim data, consumers can encourage more competition and more consumer-choices by collaborating to share true prices. In fact, if enough consumers and share prices – consumers will have collectively created a very powerful directory to help make informed health care purchasing decisions. The website is called OutofPocket.com and I invite you to check it out. I welcome all comments and feedback on this grassroots initiative.

Mona Lori

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