Thursday, February 11, 2010

How do we control healthcare costs?

Just say "no."
Governor Deval Patrick is seeking sweeping authority to review and reject rates charged by hospitals, physician groups, medical imaging centers, and insurers, in a broad new effort to make health care more affordable, particularly for smaller companies and their workers.

1 comment:

  1. Luke,

    Your comments about HSA plans doing the most to curb costs seem to be coming true. I just finished analyzing claims data for a 15k member employer group that switched to a high deductible hsa in 2009. Their previous plan was a fairly standard 90/10 with copay till deductible is met. The costs for the chronic care members stayed roughly the same as in the prior years, however the non-chronic member costs dropped dramatically. For this group for the past 5 years, the non-chronic care costs had increased between 5~8% each year. After the first year of the HSA, non-chronic care costs declined 6%. (non-chronic being defined as members not identified for diabetes, heart complications, COPD, Asthma, impact conditions, and under 65).

    It will be interesting to monitor the cost trends during 2010 and 2011 as the members of this group adjust to the new plans. Will they be come better consumers of medical services (shopping for best rates, using generic drugs, avoiding excessive outpatient or dr services) or will they complain to their plans and have the old system reinstated. Thus far the data only shows that most of the non-chronic members have just stopped consuming services which may or may not come back to haunt the group plan (as preventive medicine and other early indicators are avoided).

    Just thought you'd find this interesting.