Clinical Pathology Laboratories Stand to Benefit as Patients Gain Control Over Their Healthcare Spending Through High-Deductible Health Plans

Smaller clinical laboratories and pathology groups should benefit from shift toward consumer-driven healthcare

High-deductible health plans (HDHP) are increasing in popularity as more consumers opt for lower annual premium costs in exchange for larger out-of-pocket expenses. This shift in health insurance could result in direct benefits for smaller clinical laboratories and pathology groups as more patients have a choice in where they purchase medical laboratory testing services.

From a policy perspective, employers and healthcare strategists hope that using HDHPs to engage consumers will help put market forces back into medicine. Because clinical laboratories and pathology groups increasingly find themselves excluded from provider networks, and fighting to keep access to patients, they should welcome the trend to consumer-driven healthcare.

A logical response to the HDHP trend would be for labs to begin posting their lab test prices on their websites. It would be equally useful to also post quality-performance and customer-satisfaction survey results to allow consumers to make informed choices about the labs they want performing their tests. (more…)