What if you could not find the price for anything at the grocery store, even the most basic items? What if the check-out clerk offered to mail you a bill, but could not tell you what your total amount would be?
That is the question being asked by Regence, the largest health insurer in the Northwest / Intermountain Region.
Regence admits that although that sounds ridiculous to shop in a store where there are no prices marked on items, it is exactly how our nation’s health care system often operates.
The health plan points out that as the country’s health care reform debate charges forward, the unsustainable rise in health care costs remains a significant issue. Regence is telling its customers that to understand the cost of medical care – from a doctor’s visit to a flu shot to knee surgery – is the key to controlling those costs.
To illustrate the absurdity of not knowing what a procedure or office visit costs, unlike other sectors of our economy, Regence launched a video called “45 Seconds to Share.” part of the company’s WhatsTheRealCost.org campaign.
The video depicts a grocery store customer at a check out counter. She remarks that it was strange that there were no prices on the items. The clerk tells her that that is called “shopping” and they didn’t do that in this store, but that she would get the bill for her purchases in about thirty days.
The video is part of part of the company’s WhatsTheRealCost.org campaign, a multi-faceted, online effort designed to educate consumers about the real costs of health care, and how the choices they make each day impact those costs, activating them to make more informed health care decisions
WhatsTheRealCost.org has many interactive components, including:
Encourages the user to continue to ask questions when interacting within the health care system. The health care “system” is played by a bureaucratic character.
Provides the real costs of common procedures, and what different areas of the health care system contribute to those costs.
Features health care “myths and facts” and the latest government updates on health care reform.
Arms consumers with just five simple questions they could ask when they are ill or are requiring treatment, and asks consumers to think about how this one action could change the health care system.
A place where participants can connect with each other through blogging and social networking, giving a voice to the movement. Features Facebook and Twitter links.
Online game where the user is a “Community Health Planner,” challenged with managing the health of a community with limited resources.
Regence serves more than 2.5 million members as Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (selected counties in Washington).
For more information, visit www.regence.com.