Roundtable: Costs of Care and the ACA, Part I

The importance of holding costs of care conversations with patients, especially as more Americans are on high deductible plans, and the difficulty of even knowing how much treatment will cost ahead of time.

Moderator: Laura Palmer

Senior Industry Analyst

Medical Group Management Association

Neel Shah, MD, MPP

Harvard Medical Faculty

Founder, Executive Director of Costs of Care

Peter Goldbach, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Health Dialog

Joe Fifer, CPA

President, CEO

Healthcare Financial Management Association

In this roundtable, panelists discuss how to hold conversations with patients who have questions about the Affordable Care Act and the costs of care.

Moderator Laura Palmer, a senior industry analyst with the Medical Group Management Association, introduced the panelists: Neel Shah, MD, MPP, a member of the Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians practice, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, an editor at JAMA Internal Medicine, and the founder and executive director of the non-profit Costs of Care; Peter Goldbach, MD, the chief medical officer for Health Dialog and a practicing physician of 17 years; and Joe Fifer, CPA, the president and chief executive officer of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Shah kicked off the conversation by explaining why discussing the costs of care is so critically important, especially now that more Americans are on high deductible plans. He pointed out that part of the problem is that when a patient shows up with symptom, it’s not always possible to know how many tests will need to be run and what the ultimate cost will be.

“I think it’s very important and I guess also a difficult task for many doctors because they actually don’t know what things cost, which make it even more difficult,” Goldbach explained.

Part 2 | Part 3