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Invited Commentary
September 2016

Consumer-Oriented Approaches to Cost Containment

Author Affiliations
  • 1Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • 2Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • 3Center for Health Policy, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1359-1360. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3875

The study by Robinson and colleagues1 of Safeway’s experience with reference pricing for laboratory services adds to a valuable, and promising, body of work examining approaches to contain health care costs. By the third year of the program, they found that the average amount spent per laboratory test by Safeway and its employees was 31.9% less than the amount spent by controls, such that the 3-year initiative was associated with $2.57 million less spent on laboratory testing, including $1.05 million less in patient out-of-pocket spending.1

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