Healthcare consumers have been in the dark, but Consumer Reports continues to shine a light on information consumers can use to make informed decisions in the healthcare marketplace. As Martha Bebinger states in her recent article, there is a “void” of groups providing information to answer the question: Where should I get my health care? Usable information that is accessible or even available at all to healthcare consumers is in short supply.
Consumers want this data. The Mass Insight polling group performed a survey this past April that showed that consumers do want to have more information. But more than their desire, consumers have a right to this information. As with any other major consumer purchase, consumers should shop around for their health care. Consumers should use price and quality information when seeking out health care, just as they would when look for a television or car.
While this data may not be perfect, it is a step in the right direction. The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is working on an “Empowering Healthcare Consumers” campaign to advocate for price and information transparency in the healthcare marketplace. The way that this campaign will work is through bold moves by various groups to get information to consumers and fill that “void” that Ms. Bebinger writes about. The continued effort by Consumer Reports should be praised. It seeks to fill the vacuum of groups willing to step up and provide crucial information to empower healthcare consumers.
How to Combat Illegal Robocalls posted on Jul 25
Robocalls have become an all-too-common nuisance for consumers. Robocalls are unsolicited, pre-recorded phone calls, often scams, which are made to consumers without their permission, as opposed to calls solicited by the consumer, such as those from pharmacies and childrens’ schools. Robocalls are illegal in Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 159C. While consumers can, and should, sign-up -for both the state and national Do-Not-Call lists, unfortunately this does not always stop many unscrupulous solicitors and scammers from making these calls.
Summary of the 2015 Consumer Federation of America Annual Consumer Complaint Survey posted on Jul 22
The Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators recently released the results of the 2015 Consumer Complaint Survey. This report is based on consumer information, complaints, and suggestions for increased consumer protections from 33 consumer agencies in 21 states.
Do-Not-Call Consumer & Solicitor Responsibilities posted on Jul 20
The Massachusetts Do-Not-Call Registry allows consumers to stop receiving certain telephone solicitations simply by signing-up and providing their telephone number. Established in 2003, the law requires telephone solicitors, list-brokers, and telemarketers to register with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, subscribe to the Do-Not-Call Registry, and remove registered telephone numbers of consumers from their call lists.