A Guide to Facilitating Consumer Choice
Authors: E.W. Hoy, E.K. Wicks, R.A. Forland
Some purchasers and policymakers are advocating models that offer consumers a choice of health plans as a way to help them choose a plan that best meets their needs and to create incentives for health plans to compete on the basis of efficiency, quality, and service. A review of six consumer-choice models indicates that these objectives can be met if purchasers (1) create a level field for comparison; (2) offer a limited number of plans that meet appropriate selection criteria; (3) provide comprehensive, objective, and reliable consumer information; (4) support the process with education; and (5) hold plans accountable through uniform reporting of performance data.
This article was published in Health Affairs, Winter 1996.