Weapons of Mass Corruption: "Out-of-Pocket" Costs

Educating and empowering people to be informed healthcare consumers is our mission here at Amaze, and while most people generally know their out-of-pocket or copay costs, we think we need to take it a step further.

When it comes to creating a healthcare system that functions fairly for everyone and that encourages smart consumer behavior, simply knowing our out-of-pocket costs actually accomplishes nothing. In fact, it plays right into the hands of the deceptive games played by drug companies, hospitals and insurance carriers. That’s why we call “Out-of-Pocket Costs” a “Weapon of Mass Corruption.”

Take the process of buying prescription medications at your local pharmacy. When it comes to drugs, if all we know is our out-of-pocket cost and not what our insurance carrier is paying the pharmacy, then we’re kept in the dark and are doing nothing to drive costs down by making better decisions. And when our employer is paying the bill, we’re not making good decisions for the company.

If, in one place a drug costs $100, and in another it costs $50, but we only know that we have a $10 co-pay (i.e., an “out-of-pocket” expense) then who is pushing for the $50 price? The simple answer: No one.

Sure, people might say that patients don’t care, but at Amaze, we don’t buy it. We think that when people know it’s really their employer paying the bill and not an insurance company, they’ll be inclined to choose the lower cost to save their company money.

The healthcare industry’s efforts to push the ‘out-of-pocket’ conversation is smoke and mirrors meant to distract us from their games.

This game of charades leads to higher prices for us and our employers. Partial transparency equals no transparency. That’s why “out-of-pocket costs” is a Weapon of Mass Corruption.

Don’t fall for it. Demand to know the full price being paid for any drug, medical device, or medical service. To believe that all we care about is our out-of-pocket costs is insulting to us individually, as patients, and it denies patients–aka employees–the ability to save their employers money.

When it comes to employer sponsored health insurance, it’s time to start thinking about “we,” not just “me.”