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A Letter to Healthcare Providers from a Consumer

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2014

I was sorry to see it priced out of existence. My employer and I both saw our health insurance premiums skyrocket over the decades and it was clear that we had to change the way we paid for coverage. So, I bumped into a high-deductible health plan. Now my premiums are lower, but my co-pays and deductibles are higher – a lot higher. All of those various payments and services that you used to haggle over with my insurance company have been dumped into my lap.

Now that I'm the one who will be paying the freight on the first $5,000, or $7,000, or $8,000 and higher of my healthcare costs, here's what you can expect from me.

1. I Want Transparency
Tell me why I need it and what it's going to cost, up front. Make it easy for me compare your costs with the hospital/practice/walk-in clinic down the street. Transparency is highest on my list of priorities because without knowing how you do business, when you do business, how much you charge for your business, we can't do business.

2. I Want it Cheap
Surveys say that healthcare consumers value "quality care." But now that I have to pay more for that quality, I want it cheaper. If your prices are higher you'd better be able to explain why, but I'll still probably go elsewhere.

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Comments are moderated. Please be patient.

10 comments on "A Letter to Healthcare Providers from a Consumer"


Jane Orient (1/20/2014 at 1:01 PM)
YOu are welcome as a patient if you value my services. I expect honesty and transparency from patients also.

Stephen E. Galya (1/17/2014 at 8:17 PM)
I was quite disappointed by Mr. Commins statement about physician assistants, and not physician's assistant as he put it. This gentleman obviously has no idea of the training PA's go though, or what they are capable of doing. I have been a PA for 21 years, and currently work in family practice, and manage patients with hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, and other chronic conditions. We as PA's work hard, and research has shown that patients are at times more satisfied with our care than MD's. A truly hurtful and disappointing statement. This man should have done some research.

G Constantinopolos, MD, MBA (1/14/2014 at 10:12 PM)
Transparency and communication is a must indeed. However we must all speak the same language. Too many people in this country consider healthcare a social "good" which they are entitled to as it is the right to walk in a house workship and pray. But the providers see it as a market " good" for which a financial transaction is due. Physicians are not a commodity as the insurance plans seem to believe. The time is coming when you will have to pay a good premium to select a physician who is an expert in his field. As a consumer you know you get what you pay for. But I would also agree that the unchallenged super inflated hospital charges should come to an end. It is now clear that hospitals are big profitable businesses with little if any concern to their captive customer base. They can not operate within the non profit arena trying to compete with the private practitioners who have supportersd them through the good and bad times Hospitals and their highly paid administrators offer no care, they just facilitate, it is the physicians who do that !