Don’t overlook impact of consumer-driven healthcare
Regarding the recent Comment/Guest Expert, “Higher employee cost-sharing could undermine job-based coverage system” (Modern Healthcare, June 8, p. 25), the Commonwealth Fund’s Dr. David Blumenthal addressed many salient facts and issues relating to employer-based health insurance in his editorial.
While he is spot on in his assessments on many fronts, he neglected to discuss consumer-driven healthcare and the impact it has on healthcare cost-sharing among employers. Employers are shifting costs, in part, to create incentives for their employees to engage in value-based decisionmaking. To support that, they are investing heavily in strategies and tools to inform employees’ decisions. And although the Affordable Care Act now mandates full coverage for preventive services, many employers already offered it.
America’s leading companies have been instrumental in driving policy aimed at improved transparency, outcomes and value-based healthcare. Many of the nation’s largest corporations have implemented benefit designs and healthcare programs that move the market. For instance, some employers do select contracting for common and expensive procedures such as hip and knee replacement and spine surgery for better quality and savings, including savings for employees.
It helps everyone—employers and their covered members—to do business with value-based, outcomes-driven healthcare providers.
Many would conclude that some of the cost-reductions Dr. Blumenthal references are attributable to consumerdriven health plans. That said, employers do not think it’s good ethics or sound business to cause undue financial burden for employees and they recognize they need to—either directly or in concert with health plans—reduce the overall cost arc of healthcare.
Lauren Vela Senior director of member services Pacific Business Group on Health San Francisco