I recently personally experienced one of the trends we follow - The Risk Shift. The bottom line: I spent over $800 for x-rays that should have cost me $37. Let me explain.
Over the last few decades a series of economic, political and social changes have resulted in the shifting of risk management responsibilities from institutions to individuals. Companies have shifted responsibility for retirement, career planning and health care to employees and government at all levels have reduced social support services.
Health care is a great example of this shift. Consumer-driven health care - where the consumer plays a key decision-making role regarding the health care they receive - has greatly expanded over the last decade and is widely forecast to continue to grow in importance. In addition to shifting decision making to consumers, it also shifts some of the health care cost risks.
As a small business owner, my health insurance is consumer-driven. We have a high deductible plan and a health savings account (HSA). These plans are both cost and tax efficient, but in exchange it's my responsibility to be a knowledgeable health care consumer.
Back to my story.
I recently needed x-rays. My doctor gave a list of walk-in x-ray clinics to choose from. I picked one based on convenience (the x-rays were negative). The bill, which came a week later, was $841.
Quite shocked at the price I looked into it. I discovered that without realizing it I'd gone to a facility that's part of a nearby hospital. Because of this, I was charged hospital rates.
Had I gone to a walk-in clinic that wasn't part of the hospital, it would have been much cheaper. For example, the x-ray facility located next door to the one I visited would have charged me $37.
No one - my doctor, the folks at the clinic (which had a different name than the hospital) - bothered to point out the huge price disparity. Instead, I was expected to know that the same, simple x-rays range in price from $37 to $841.
And I should have - which my wife quickly pointed out when she saw the bill (she also realized it was a risk shift mistake and suggested I write this article).
The Risk Shift is a powerful and growing trend that impacts almost everyone.
It's also creating new opportunities for businesses that can help individuals and families navigate their increasingly complex lives. The growth of financial advisors, elder care specialists, college coaches, health insurance brokers and many other professions is at least in part due to the risk shift.
We cover the Risk Shift and what it means for financial institutions in a article on Banking.com, and it's one of the 20 key trends in the Intuit 2020 Report.