" /> Op-ed: Cut Consumer Health Care Costs – Cut Consumer Costs

Read the full op-ed from Donna Christensen on Morning Consult.

“As the courts and lawmakers continue to argue about the future of America’s health care system, one thing is for sure: More people today are covered by health insurance than ever before. But what that coverage includes is an entirely different story.

Consumers are facing higher bills, less transparency, bureaucratic nightmares and, of greatest concern, less comprehensive care. Something needs to change.

Consumers are understandably angry and confused. Recent surveys from Ipsos on behalf of Consumers for Quality Care found that Americans are deeply frustrated by unpredictable costs and the lack of transparency in health care.

Two in three Americans struggle with predicting how much they will have to pay for health care when they need it. They fear health care costs even more than they worry about costs associated with retirement, college, housing or child care, and they want more clarity to avoid getting hit with surprise bills and shocking fees.

According to survey respondents, the most frustrating aspects of the health care system are hospital fees and unexpected bills (74 percent), insurance costs like premiums, copays and deductibles (71 percent) and out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs (64 percent).

Unfortunately, there are too many areas where health care policies are increasing consumers’ out-of-pocket costs, while increasing health care industry earnings. One good example of this is after-the-fact emergency department denials.

Some insurers are instituting policies that would force policyholders to pay for an emergency room visit if the insurer later deems it a non-emergency. Patients are essentially being asked to self-diagnose. As a result, many patients will likely delay or go without emergency care rather than risk being unexpectedly required to pay emergency department costs out-of-pocket.”