0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Original Investigation |

Association of Reference Pricing for Diagnostic Laboratory Testing With Changes in Patient Choices, Prices, and Total Spending for Diagnostic Tests

James C. Robinson, PhD1; Christopher Whaley, BA1; Timothy T. Brown, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1353-1359. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2492.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Importance  Prices for laboratory and other clinical services vary widely. Employers and insurers increasingly are adopting “reference pricing” policies to create incentives for patients to select lower-priced facilities.

Objective  To measure the association between implementation of reference pricing and patient choice of laboratory, test prices, patient out-of-pocket spending, and insurer spending.

Design, Setting, and Participants  We conducted an observational study of changes in laboratory pricing and selection by employees of a large national grocery firm (n = 30 415) before and after the firm implemented a reference pricing policy for laboratory services and compared the findings with changes over the same period for policy holders of a large national insurer that did not implement reference pricing (n = 181 831). The grocery firm established a maximum payment limit at the 60th percentile of the distribution of prices for each laboratory test in each region. Employees were provided with data on prices at all laboratories through a mobile digital platform. Patients selecting a laboratory that charged more than the payment limit were required to pay the full difference themselves. A total of 2.13 million claims were analyzed for 285 types of in vitro diagnostic tests between 2010 and 2013.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Patient choice of laboratory, price paid per test, patient out-of-pocket costs, and employer spending.

Results  Compared with trends in prices paid by insurance policy holders not subject to reference pricing, and after adjusting for characteristics of tests and patients, implementation of reference pricing was associated with a 31.9% reduction (95% CI, 20.6%-41.6%) in average price paid per test by the third year of the program. In these 3 years, total spending on laboratory tests declined by $2.57 million (95% CI, $1.59-$3.35 million). Out-of-pocket costs by patients declined by $1.05 million (95% CI, $0.73-$1.37 million). Spending by the employer declined by $1.70 million (95% CI, $0.92-$2.48 million).

Conclusions and Relevance  When combined with access to price information, reference pricing was associated with patient choice of lower-cost laboratories and reductions in prices and payments by both employer and employees.

Figures in this Article

Figures

Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure.
Average Price Paid per Diagnostic Test by Anthem and Safeway Before and After Implementation of Reference Pricing by Safeway, 2010-2013

Safeway implemented reference pricing in March 2011.

Graphic Jump Location

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

811 Views
0 Citations
×

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles
Jobs
brightcove.createExperiences();