Few members of employer-sponsored health savings account programs seem to have much luck negotiating, or even determining, prices before receiving medical care.
Researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office have published that conclusion in a review of early HSA plan members’ experience.
Many HSA plan members who participated in a GAO focus group said they are reluctant to ask doctors about the cost of care, but members also noted that physicians do not always know the cost of the services provided, and that the information generally was handled through a billing office, John Dicken, a GAO director, writes in a report summarizing the research.
“Participants reported that only limited information was available regarding key quality measures for hospitals and physicians, such as the volume of procedures performed and the outcomes of those procedures,” Dicken writes.
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Other GAO findings:
- HSA plans once offered to free consumers from provider networks, but the HSA plans included in the study now seem to use provider networks that are similar to the provider networks used by traditional plans.