The NYT opened up a forum for people to submit ideas on default rules that could be changed. One idea, proposed by a reader in “KC”, that Tina Rosenberg found interesting was around health care appointments.
“When signing up for a health plan, it might be effective to have to opt-out of preventive treatments, such as an annual checkup. I never went for my annual checkup when I was younger because it required researching a doctor and scheduling an appointment. I would have gone to a checkup if I was given a default doctor and had an appointment scheduled for me.”
Choosing a doctor can be a personal choice, which seems like a good reason for resisting switching this default rule for some. But HMO plans have made medicine far more impersonal than it was a generation ago. And with people moving to new cities and need to find new physicians, it might be a default rule switch worth looking into for some patients. The default rule switch need not be some elaborate set up taking into account various preventative procedures. It could be as simple as this: When you sign up for a new health plan, a primary care physician close to your work or home is chosen for you and one appointment is scheduled within the coming few months. You are provided with a number to call to cancel the appointment or to switch doctors.