PORTLAND, Ore. – July 1, 2015 – Spring allergy season is the most popular time of year for people to comparison shop for allergy tests and allergy shots, treatments that can vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, according to data released today by health care shopping tool provider HealthSparq.
“In the months of spring, March through June, allergy shots and tests were among the top-25 most frequently shopped medical treatments through our tools,” said HealthSparq Senior Manager of Consumer Analytics and Insights Tyler Cox. “We saw more cost estimates for allergy-related treatments than ever before, with 41 percent growth over 2014 figures. People shopped for allergy tests and shots even more than basic checkups to find providers and cost savings opportunities.”
Cost ranges for a sampling of allergy-related medical treatments in OR, WA, UT and ID illustrate substantial savings opportunities for health care shoppers. Final costs vary depending on a person’s individual health insurance plan, but with the prevalence of high-deductible plans, comparing providers could still save thousands of dollars.
According to the Kaiser & HRET Employer Health Benefits 2014 Annual Survey, 45 percent of employees with health insurance are offered one or more high-deductible health plans with a savings option, such as an HSA or HRA. HealthSparq tools take into account what a person has paid against their deductible to-date, as well as coverage limits when estimating health care costs.
Allergy season isn’t the only seasonal hook that drives consumer-shopping behaviors in health care. HealthSparq also observed an uptick in shopping for preventative treatments around the New Year, when coverage limits refresh.
“We’re making it a priority to measure the ways in which major annual events and seasonal trends affect the ways consumers shop,” Cox said. “It’s all in an effort to help the industry better understand the needs of the people we help, and to improve our own tools.”
HealthSparq empowers people to make smarter health care choices by providing the cost and quality information they need to truly compare health providers and services. By enabling people to see the total costs of care (pre- and post-procedure included) for more than 400 medical treatments based on their individual health plan, comparison shop for procedures and providers, review quality ratings, and learn about alternative care options, HealthSparq is helping people navigate the health care system and shop for health care as they never have before.
Since our founding in 2008, from our home in Portland, Oregon, HealthSparq has grown to serve 70 health plans and their 72 million members nationwide. Interested in joining a health care revolution? Contact us at www.healthsparq.com or tweet us @HealthSparq.