Harvard Pilgrim pays members to use cheaper treatments

Massachusetts-based Harvard Pilgrim has started paying patients $10 to $75 each time they get medical tests at a lower cost provider.

Under Harvard Pilgrim's SaveOn program, when members get referrals from their doctors, they can call the insurer's "clinical concierge" line that directs them to hospitals or other facilities that charge less for the same tests. When members use this service, Harvard Pilgrim will pay them $10 to $75, reports The Boston Globe.

The insurer says it hopes the program will better inform patients' healthcare decisions and minimize the increasing prices of tests and procedures, according to the Associated Press.

"It's the kind of decision patients aren't making today because they don't have the information,'' Harvard Pilgrim CEO Eric Schultz said. "Doctors are still referring patients for diagnostics based on the way they've always done it, without regard for the cost. But we can't sit around and accept behavior that drives costs up with little or no impact on quality."

However, some doctors aren't immediately jumping on board to support the new program, saying they know best which providers offer the most quality medical tests. Harvard Pilgrim, in response, says its SaveOn program merely provides its members with more information about existing options, reports WWLP.

To learn more:
- read the Boston Globe article
- see the Associated Press article
- check out the WWLP article