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Health Aff (Millwood). 1996 Winter;15(4):9-30.

A guide to facilitating consumer choice.

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  • 1Institute for Health Policy Solutions, Washington, DC, USA.


Some purchasers and policymakers are advocating models that offer consumers a choice of health plans as a way to help them choose a plan that best meets their needs and to create incentives for health plans to compete on the basis of efficiency, quality, and service. A review of six consumer-choice models indicates that these objectives can be met if purchasers (1) create a level field for comparison through standardized benefits and structured enrollment processes; (2) offer a limited number of plans that meet appropriate selection criteria; (3) provide comprehensive, objective, and reliable consumer information; (4) support the process with education; and (5) hold plans accountable through uniform reporting of performance data.

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