Connecting the Dots between Consumerism and Population Health

January 20, 2015

by Jane Weber Brubaker

Jane Weber BrubakerA seven-minute home video titled If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care made its debut on YouTube in 2010 and subsequently went viral.

The video features a hapless customer struggling to book a round-trip flight through a fictitious airline, Air Health Care, and nail down the cost. The man’s frustration level escalates as the relentlessly sunny rep informs him of his options, none of them desirable or even reasonable. It reaches a fever pitch when the rep cheerfully advises him that he will have to pay $17,885 for his flight because his travel plan is not in the Air Health Care network.

Consumers want ease, convenience, and price transparency when purchasing health care—all the things they have when purchasing everything else. Today, consumers are assuming a more active role managing their health care decisions through participation in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), which have been around for about 10 years, and more recently through public and private insurance exchanges.

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