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Engaging Consumers

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Supporting consumers with information and incentives to choose the right care at the right price

All too often, consumers are uninformed about the cost and quality of their health care. They are often disempowered and disconnected from our health care system, unable to make good choices about insurance coverage, doctors and treatment options. Too often, the care they receive is inconvenient, unsafe, and varies widely in quality and cost. The current situation is frustrating, expensive and can be very scary. Yet examples from other industries show us that when consumers have the information, they can and will call for services that are affordable and high quality. The Pacific Business Group on Health engages in policy and advocacy, partnerships and data-gathering to help provide consumers with information and tools they need to better assess the quality and cost of health insurance, doctors, hospitals and treatments. We also work to improve health insurance benefit designs to motivate consumers to become actively engaged in their health.

Spotlight: An online tool helps a father choose a health plan

“It is really hard to choose health insurance, especially for your child. You want to find health care you can afford, but most importantly, you want to find doctors you really trust.”

Choosing a health plan can be overwhelming. A consumer needs to understand many options and tradeoffs, including cost and access to preferred doctors, specialists and hospitals. Often the best choice depends on an individual’s unique situation and expected health care needs. This is where online tools for consumers like the Health Plan Chooser can help. When Matt started his new job at the University of California, he and his wife were planning for their second child. He needed to choose a health plan that covered a well-recommended obstetrician, but one that also covered his older son’s pediatrician. With his wife not working and a second child on the way, the cost of the plan was a major consideration as well. Matt was able to use the University of California’s online health plan chooser to understand his options, the tradeoffs, and ultimately find a plan to meet all the family’s needs.