The Patient Savings Act: A tool to lower health care costs

For too long, we have been denied information about the cost and quality of our health care

Health care costs continue to rise, squeezing personal budgets and threatening the finances of many Floridians. Working with Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Legislature passed major health care reforms, like the Patient Savings Act, that arm patients with information about health care costs and quality and provide new tools to save money.

Whenever we buy something, we know the price in advance. Health care is the notable exception. Weeks after a procedure, we finally receive a statement telling us what the procedure cost, what our insurer paid, and what we still owe. The reality is that the cost of many non-emergency procedures varies widely. Healthcare Bluebook, a price transparency site, illustrates this dramatic cost variation and how the Patient Savings Act could save you money. In my area, the cost of a total hip replacement could range from $29,372 to $65,990, a huge difference in price (interestingly, the lowest cost providers also have some of the highest quality ratings).

Floridians are frustrated by the complicated world of health care pricing. We pay exorbitant fees for procedures because none of us have access to timely information about the true costs of our available options. That is why I sponsored the Patient Savings Act, HB 1113, to give Floridians the right to know the cost of care and put money in their pocket when they select a high-quality, lower-cost procedure.

Here’s how it works: 1) search online for the procedure you need; 2) review all options for cost and quality; 3) select a high-quality, lower cost option; and, 4) receive a guaranteed portion of the savings. Those savings may come through a reduction in your premiums or a cash payment into a tax-free account, like a Health Savings Account that you control. It’s that simple.

Patients can pursue these savings for a wide range of non-emergency, health care services, including inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures, clinical laboratory services, infusion therapy, OB/GYN care, telehealth, radiology and imaging services, physical and occupational therapy, outpatient nonsurgical diagnostics tests and procedures, and prescription drugs.

For too long, we have been denied information about the cost and quality of our health care. While there are no silver bullets to reduce health care costs, when patients are given the chance to consider their options and share in any savings, we will start to see costs come down, as providers compete for our business. Outside health care, everyone who provides a service operates on this simple, free-market principle. It is time we apply the same principle to health care.

The Patient Savings Act will empower all of us by providing the information we need to save money on our health care.

Renner, R-Palm Coast, is a member of the Florida House of Representatives and sponsor of the Patient Savings Act.