“Transparency” and “choice” are keywords associated withhealth plan consumers thesedays. But there’s no guarantee those key words will lead to thekeyword phrase “lower health plan costs.”

One survey of the employees of two large employers reports that,given transparency and choice, plan members did not reduce theircosts, and even increased thema bit.

As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association,a Harvard-led study of plan member choices showed that whenemployees spent more time reviewing plan options, they did notnecessarily choose a cheaper plan. The studycompared two groups of employees — one with a plan that included aprice transparency/comparison tool, and another that did not.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.