Start-Ups Are Helping Consumers Make Better Healthcare Purchases

For years, one prescription to healthcare woes in the United States has been to shift costs to consumers, on the theory that this will cause them to make more cost-effective decisions. As this experiment plays out in real life, however, a different reality is unfolding.

For years, one prescription to healthcare woes in the United States has been to shift costs to consumers. The logic is simple: Because patients currently do not bear the expense of most of their decisions, shifting expenses to them will cause them to make more rational, cost-effective decisions and will ultimately help bring about a more functional health care market.

As this experiment plays out in real life, however, a different reality is unfolding. While patients are paying more and more out of pocket for care, key challenges stand in the way of them operating as effective consumers. Fortunately, a number of innovative start-up companies are arising to address this problem.