As the January 31 deadline approaches to sign up for health insurance under the government’s health care marketplace, Senate Republicans are beginning plans to repeal the law that created that program.
It’s still unclear how lawmakers will replace the Affordable Care Act if it is repealed, and experts around the country are unsure what a reformed health care system should look like.
For Anne Ladd, CEO of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health, it’s important that consumers understand more about the health services they are buying. She says most of her work is with employers both large and small to help them understand the cost and quality of care.
“Everybody thinks the insurance company is the payer, but really it’s ultimately the employer,” Ladd said. “They have kind of delegated responsibility to their insurance company, and as a result many of them need quite a bit of education about what’s going on. So as prices go up and up and up, they’re willing to get much more involved.”
Although Ladd says there is no single fix for health care, people should have more information that will help them choose between policies and providers.
“Nobody yet has the ability to go to a website and say, okay, I need to have a knee replacement done: who are the doctors that do that, what’s their quality ranking, and what’s their price? Health care is the only thing that we buy where we make finding value very difficult,” Ladd said.
She says that the insurance marketplace created under the ACA was a big step because it allowed people to compare plans. Regardless of whether the system gets overhauled, she says she’d like to see businesses and their employees get the tools they need to become more discerning care consumers.