PwC: Pace of Rising Medical Costs Slowing
Use of non-traditional care sites: Consumers are increasingly drawn to retail clinics housed in big-box retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart. Convenience, lower cost, and the retail focus on consumer engagement all contribute to rising interest. In 2007, 9.7% of consumers had visited a retail clinic; by 2012 that number jumped to almost one quarter.
For a minor illness, such as a cold or the flu, the charge at a retail clinic would be around $76 versus $120 for a physician office visit, according to the PwC report. Judy expects retail clinics to expand into the care of to chronic conditions and chronic disease management. "That's a huge opportunity for the retail side."
High performance networks: Faced with high medical bills, employers are increasingly turning to nationally recognized physicians and hospitals to provide high-quality care at a lower price for certain specialized services. Even factoring in the cost of travel, early data suggests these high-performance networks can produce a 25% reduction in costs, the report notes.
During a session last week at the annual conference for America's Health Insurance Plans, Chris McSwain, vice president of U.S. Benefits for Wal-Mart, noted the company's high-performance relationship with the Cleveland Clinic for cardiac care and Mayo Clinic for transplantation, among others.
"We began by trying to raise the bar on performance. We looked at appropriate care and identified who could deliver the gold standard of care. It was a matter of raising our expectations of what the healthcare system can provide to our associates and their dependents."
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