Report shows even small incentives of under $50 motivate people to shop for health care
October 19, 2016 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Shopping for health care can be a hassle, but consumers are starting to shop with the help of real savings and incentives. Vitals, which operates Vitals SmartShopper, the program that pays people to shop for care, uncovered what’s motivating today’s health care shoppers
Vitals first annual Shopping Report analyzed the activity of over one million members in its program from January 2016 to July 2016. Women accounted for 70 percent of the shoppers. And while 42 percent of their member base is 46-years-old and over, that group accounted for 70 percent of the shopping.
Because large price variations exist between medical facilities for the same procedure regardless of quality, SmartShopper rewards people who shop for high-quality, lower-cost care. The program shares a portion of the savings generated with members, giving them up to $500 in cash. But modest amounts drive the majority of shopping. Over half of the incentive amounts members earned were $50 or less. Less than 6 percent were $200 or more.
The top five procedures people shopped for included lab work, mammograms, MRIs, colonoscopies and CT scans. These types of procedures are routine and often aren’t performed by a member’s primary care doctor.
“People don’t have an emotional attachment to the radiologist tech who performs their imaging scan or the phlebotomist who draws their blood,” said Mitch Rothschild, Chairman and Founder of Vitals. “People are willing to shop for these type of routine procedures because it doesn’t disrupt the traditional doctor-patient relationship.”
SmartShopper allows people to shop for medical services online or via phone. While 66 percent of people start an online, two-thirds of the people who actually switch provider – and therefore create savings – come in through the call center where consumers can talk to personal shopping advocates.
Members were also more willing to switch when they didn’t have to travel far for a better value facility. Over 80 percent of the people who switched drove less than 20 miles. In comparison, 4 percent of people were willing to drive 40 miles or more.
“Today, urgent care centers, imaging and surgical centers can often do the same procedure at a fraction of the cost of a nearby hospital, without sacrificing quality,” said Rothschild. “Couple convenient access to those facilities with a tangible and timely incentive and you can motivate people to shop for medical care.”
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.