Precision Benefit Design

A recent viewpoint from Fendrick and Shope (2018) argues for the need for Precision Benefit Design. Successful implementation of precision medicine will need to address several system-wide challenges, including administrative complexities, the creation of new financing models, and aligning provider- and patient-focused initiatives. The enormous clinical potential of precision medicine sheds light on the critical…

VBID in TRICARE

Value-based insurance design looks to be expanding. As the American Journal of Managed Care reports: The bill calls for a pilot demonstrating the feasibility of incorporating VBID by “reducing co-payments or cost shares for targeted populations of covered beneficiaries in the receipt of high-value medications and services and the use of high-value providers” no later…

Do narrow networks reduce cost?

Many health plans in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges aim to keep premiums down by limiting patients to a select group of providers (e.g., hospitals, physicians). The thought is, by limiting patients to a “narrow network” of providers, patients are in essence restricted to see the most efficient providers.  Some may claim that “efficient” means high quality…

Is reducing disparity enough?

A recent paper in by Martin et al. (2015) finds that Medicaid Managed Care programs in Kentucky reduced monthly professional visits. Further, the decrease in the number of professional visits was larger for whites than for non-whites. The authors conclude: We find evidence that MMC [Medicaid Managed Care] has the possibility to reduce racial/ethnic disparities…

ACA and narrow networks

One way for insurers to reduce health care costs is to restrict patient access to only lower cost providers.  This phenomenon is known as narrow networks.  On the one hand, narrow networks can promote efficiency by driving down provider price and directing patients to the highest value physicians.  Alternatively, if insurers use narrow networks to direct patients…