By Not Discussing Cost Issues, Doctors, Patients May Miss Chances To Lower Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

(By – Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News)

Talking about money is never easy. But when doctors are reluctant to talk about medical costs, a patient’s health can be undermined. A study published in Monday’s Health Affairs explores the dynamics that can trigger that scenario.

Patients are increasingly responsible for shouldering more of their own health costs. In theory, that’s supposed to make them sharper consumers and empower them to trim unnecessary health spending. But previous work has shown it often leads them to skimp on both valuable preventive care and superfluous services alike.

Doctors could play a key role in instead helping patients find appropriate and affordable care by talking to them about their out-of-pocket costs. But, a range of physician behaviors currently stands in the way, according to the study. Read more…

 

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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