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how to pick the right medical plan or the best snack, courtesy of the EPA’s proposed car sticker

September 8, 2010

in health care,health communication

one of the things that’s so hard about picking the right medical or dental plan or healthier food in the cafeteria is that you don’t know how one compares to another. or how one serves your needs better than the other. to find out, you have to wade through an unwieldy comparison chart or incomprehensible nutrition labels.

enter the EPA’s proposed new car sticker. look at how it shows you how the car you’re considering fares in comparison to others in its class and overall (3, 8 and 9). if you need more information, you can get it on your smartphone (10). and if you want to personalize the data to your driving habits, you can visit the web to do so (4).


imagine if you were reviewing your health benefits and had a similar sticker to show you how the medical plan you’re considering stacks up. at a glance, you can easily compare for the lowest premium, the highest health care provider quality and the broadest network coverage—among other plan features that go into your enrollment decisions. armed with a better sense of what might work for you, you visit the website mentioned and use the decision-support tool to double-check your gut feeling.

in a different scenario, you’re standing in front of the vending machine trying to decide what’ll satisfy your afternoon snack attack. you see a sticker comparing all salty products—all sweet products—letting you know instantaneously which is the best of the lot overall and which is the best for any particular dietary concern: salt or saturated fat, for example. while you mull over your options, you decide you need more information. you hold your smartphone to the sticker and are immediately directed to a web page that also delivers related information you may not have accessed before, like a recipe bank, a hyperlink to the company’s subsidized nutrition management program, and the toll-free number for nutrition counseling.

suddenly, health promotion’s point-of-purchase and benefits and food choices, simpler.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

WhenWellnessSucks September 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Ho0w to pick the best mode of transportation:



fran September 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

love it. i have to sport one of my two local “bike philly” t-shirts: http://bit.ly/coPdb9 and http://www.cafepress.com/phillybike.200425093



Steve Boese September 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Very cool comparison Fran. I think also adding an element of ‘most people similar to you chose Plan A’ could help as well. Anything really to make deciphering the myriad elements of competing choices easier and presented in a way to lead to better outcomes.


fran September 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

steve, i love the idea of a “most people picked this.” i’d imagined that being part of an online decision guidance process. how would you see it on the sticker — would you include a variety of broad groups?



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