Vitals Reports Employers Saved $12M Through Shopping for Health Care Procedures

System-Wide Savings Achieved By Activating Consumers Through Incentives

Read the 2016 Book of Business Report 

March 9, 2016 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Vitals today released the 2016 Book of Business report, which measures the shopping activity and saving achieved by consumers using its incentive and engagement program, SmartShopper.

The report shows that across SmartShopper’s eight health plans and their employer clients, consumers collectively earned $1.46 million and generated nearly $12 million in gross dollar savings in 2015. Put another way, employers saved $7 for every $1 they paid to consumers in incentives.

SmartShopper uses a powerful incentive – cash – paying people to switch to high-quality, lower-cost facilities. The program can share savings with consumers because of extreme price variations that exist from one facility to the next, even in the same market. In 2015, the average savings per procedure shopped was $625.

Analysis of behavior patterns found that shopping in several routine medical categories was up significantly in 2015. For diagnostic scans, like MRIs and CTs, shopping among members was up over 50 percent from the previous year, while shopping for blood work was up over 46 percent. In turn, these routine procedures generated large total savings – over $2.2 million and $1.1 million, respectively.“When the service and the quality are the same, there’s no reason to choose the higher-priced service,” says Rob Graybill, VP of SmartShopper. “SmartShopper allows consumers to share in the savings they produce for their employer and or health plans. We think that’s how it should be. Even consumers who’ve met their deductible have a reason to choose the better value provider when it’s tied to a cash incentive.”

 CHART: TOP PROCEDURES BY TOTAL SAVINGS

Procedure Total Savings
Colonoscopy $1,814,192.39
Remicade Therapy $1,719,679.00
MRI $1,608,027.92
Physical Therapy $1,456,055.10
Lab/Blood Work $1,149,682.83
CT Scan $598,403.45
Upper GI $383,918.82
Mammogram $250,108.73
Knee Surgery $245,319.80
Bariatric Surgery $178,297.50

Many of the routine procedures being shopped are fully covered under health plans, meaning people are shopping even when they don’t have a financial stake. Colonoscopy shopping was up 14 percent, resulting in $1.8 million in savings, while mammography shopping was up 12 percent, resulting in $250,000 saved dollars.

The potential SmartShopper can have on cutting system costs with increased reach and repeat usage is enormous. Consider that 39 million mammograms are performed each year in the United States. While SmartShopper only saves a modest $61 per screening, the potential savings could exceed $2.4 billion. Similarly, with 34 million MRIs performed each year, there’s the potential to save over $20 billion.

CHART: Potential Savings by Procedure

Procedure Avg. Savings Cases per year Potential Savings
CT Scan $508 80,000,000 $40.6 billion
MRI $586 34,760,000 $20.3 billion
Colonoscopy $1,170 14,200,000 $16.6 billion
Mammogram $61 39,214,000 $2.4 billion

While those types of savings may be years off, programs like SmartShopper work to create a mind shift, taking patients from passive consumers of medical care to empowered consumers and informed decision makers.

“If we want to reduce costs in the system, we need to be facilitators of change,” said Graybill. “SmartShopper is designed to change the game and allow people shop for health care as they do for other important purchases, and achieve best-case outcomes for both their health and their wallet.”

About Vitals

Vitals empowers everyone to shop for their health care like an expert. We bring together cost and quality transparency along with innovative consumer engagement programs to help people select high-quality, lower-cost care. Vitals leads the market with incentive and engagement programs that pay people to shop. Our solutions achieve measurable and sustainable savings for consumers, employers and health plans. Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

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