Mindful of the growing popularity in name-your-own-price tools, benefit industry leaders and innovators are applying this approach to shopping for costly hospital services. They’re also wresting control of an opaque system and slashing prices at a time when self-funded health plans increasingly demand transparency. The movement is sure to catch the eye of brokers and advisers looking to help clients keep costs in check.

Although it’s been around for years, reference-based pricing has evolved from a pharmaceutical cost-control mechanism initially used overseas. It now can save self-insured employers 25% or more on their overall hospital spending, one expert suggests.

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