Consumer Communication Highlighted at Alliance for Health Policy Summit

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd addressed an audience of about 150 policy makers, members of the press, healthcare leaders and experts at the Alliance for Health Policy Summit, held on May 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Summit is the largest event in the Alliance’s 2018 Signature Series, “Opportunities for Progress: Health Care Costs in America.”

Summit organizers asked participants to address a crucial issue in American healthcare today: How can healthcare costs be held down and sustainability, affordability and value achieved?

Speaking on a panel entitled “What Do Consumers Really Want?,” Ms. Gelburd explored the concept of “value” from the perspective of consumers and the relationship between consumerism and healthcare costs. Communication, said Ms. Gelburd, is a prerequisite for change because consumers need to be both informed and engaged when making healthcare decisions.

“Change comes from a partnership and a collective understanding,” continued Ms. Gelburd. Using the metaphor of United Nations ambassadors who are able to communicate with one another through the use of translating tools even though they do not speak the same language, Ms. Gelburd contended that we need to translate information on healthcare costs so that consumers can participate in the conversation. Consumers need to be provided with “headphones”—that is, readily accessible tools—to understand healthcare pricing and options.

Because we have to find common ground in communications, transparency in healthcare pricing is vital for reining in costs, explained Ms. Gelburd. FAIR Health seeks to further real change in healthcare pricing by informing and empowering consumers. We do this, in part, by making medical and dental cost lookup tools easily available, free of charge, to consumers on our consumer website, fairhealthconsumer.org. The site also includes information for consumers on insurance basics and evaluating healthcare quality, as well as additional healthcare cost resources.