Your health data could be worth over $3,000 / year
In a recent post about the new MA Health Information Exchange, I suggested that a patient-accessible connection to the HIE could save a patient thousands of dollars per year. And now there’s a real-world, peer-reviewed example of what we/’re talking about. Research of medicare Part D beneficiaries published in October 2012 issue of Health Affairs (sorry, it’s paywalled) shows:
“Nationwide, beneficiaries on average spent $368 more annually than they would have spent had they purchased the cheapest plan available in their region, given their medication needs. More than a fifth of beneficiaries spent at least $500 a year more than they needed to.”
“Our findings suggest that beneficiaries need more targeted assistance from the government to help them choose plans, such as customized communications about the most cost-effective plans that would cover their medication needs.”
Prescription drugs, as covered by Part D, represent about 10% of the nation’s overall healthcare cost. If, as a gross estimate, we took $368 from this study to be 10% of what a person would save if their overall health insurance was appropriate to their specific needs, then the annual per/beneficiary saving would be over $3,000.
To save this kind of money, patients will need to be able to pay an accountant or similar trusted advocate to match their specific health care costs as collected in their claims with their particular health insurance choices. Just like we hire an accountant every April to look at our data and fill out a tax form, we might hire an accountant every December to advise us and fill out the appropriate enrollment form at The Connector.
Accountants (or a committed do-it-yourselfer) can only save this kind of money if the patient can access their private information in a convenient and cost-effective way. The information is being collected in the state All Payer Claims Database, the payment reform law gives us patients the right to access our own data. What’s still missing is the patient-access connection to the state HIE. All of this is probably spelled out in the payment reform law. Can we get a legal opinion of when this data will be accessible to you and me?