07 May 2012

Too rich for my blood

07 May 2012

Last week while visiting my partner’s parents in Houston we went to Costco, which recently has become one of my favorite stores. The quantities may be large, but what are neighbors and friends for, if not for splitting the cost of things like toilet paper and laundry detergent.

While perusing the isles with my in-laws I noticed that the price of our favorite organic orange juice was two dollars more than it is here in San Francisco. My mother in-law was about to purchase a bottle but changed her mind once I told her, she was so put off by the price difference that she also mentioned it to the cashier at checkout. The cashier said something about different suppliers being the reason for the different prices. The interaction made me think, how much of an increase in price will make a consumer reconsider a purchase?

American Medical News  reports, “In a study that could predict how people will shop for coverage through state-based health insurance exchanges, University of Michigan researchers found that a modest $10-per-month increase in the price of insurance coverage pushed consumers to shop for a new health plan.” The study, which focused on university retirees was published online Jan. 25 in Health Economics and found that “overall…with that $10 increase, you get a 2% to 3% decline in enrollment.”

It’s all relative, since I certainly don’t consider a $10 a month increase “modest” but it’s definitely a difference that warrants pause. In this day and age, with global financial uncertainty, any price change warrants further investigation. Luckily there is often more than one option when it comes to choosing your healthcare plan.

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  1. Joshua Smith May 17th, 2012 3:22PM

    They raised the price of orange juice too. I guess orange juice is an elastic product.