Health care consumers in the United States are entering a new era. Multiple forces are converging to drive the creation of a consumer retail market—one in which consumers can shop for medical and dental care in much the same way they shop for other goods and services.
Chief among these forces is the high cost of care in the United States—by far the highest among developed nations. Steep medical costs have led to steep insurance premiums—now more than $16,300 a year for family coverage. Meanwhile, health care reform legislation is bringing millions of previously uninsured consumers into the market for coverage.
Over the longer term, consumers and health plans alike will reap the benefits of the retail market: increased competition among providers, greater innovation within the industry and, ultimately, lower costs.
The following four infographics illustrate how we picture the future of health care as a marketplace.