Study: Reference pricing may not reap significant savings

Self-insured employer groups' practice of reference pricing--capping payments for specific procedures--may not reap significant savings, according to a new study by the National Institute for Health Care Reform. That study concluded that reference pricing is actually doing little to lower overall healthcare costs. It extrapolated that using reference pricing for a plan that covered 528,000 autoworkers might cut costs about 5 percent on average. Moreover, the study also said that patients were at risk of having huge out-of-pocket costs if they were not properly educated about reference pricing programs. Report