a roundup of last week’s news that caught my interest.
deloitte released an eight-page issue brief with findings about consumers’ expectations and desires about the reform and health care in general. here are a few points from the summary findings.
“Consumers have mixed feelings about health care reform. Nearly half are optimistic about reform and think it will increase access to insurance and care.
“49 percent believe that the new health care reform law is a good start, but 3 in 10 consumers say it is a step in the wrong direction.
“Reform implementation will take time: Many respondents say its full benefits will not be felt for at least five years; a substantial portion remains skeptical that reform will ever have much of an impact.
“Consumers are almost evenly split on whether the government should require individuals to have health insurance coverage.
“Consumers’ views of reform are tempered by concerns about privacy and security of personal health care information.”
uwe reinhardt writes about how our health care system’s design makes consultants, lawyers and others vital to its successful operation, often to their benefit and our harm.
“Consulting firms help physicians bill private and public insurers or help patients submit claims to insurers after an illness. Legions of insurance brokers help prospective clients through the maze of the nongroup or small-group health insurance market. Large employee-benefit consulting firms, helping large companies, establish what amount, in effect, to analogues of the health-insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act, and many more consultants of many stripes are involved.”
this is a critical question. employers are ramping up their use of carrots (and sticks) and expanding eligibility for them to spouses and other dependents. it’d be good to know if they work, wouldn’t it? this article reviews a few employer solutions and finds varied results.
“Traditional economic theory assumes that people make decisions rationally, said Kevin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, who has conducted research with Loewenstein. Behavioral economics allows for the irrational choices we make every day and tries to counteract them with rewards of a different kind.
“‘Immediate gratification is very powerful,’ Volpp said. ‘Trying to offset that through countervailing interventions is very challenging.’”
ezra klein typically writes about economic and domestic policy over at the washington post. here he writes about cleveland clinic’s road to wellness, including eliminating tobacco and increasing physical activity.
“That left fitness and stress relief. The first step was easy: Offer free fitness and stress-management classes. But the clinic still had to get its employees to attend. So they reversed the normal calculus. Usually, you have to pay to hit the gym or attend a yoga class. If you work for the Cleveland Clinic, you have to pay if you don’t.”
5. new health stations give aetna members convenient access to wellness tools and personalized care at work
self-insured employers can offer employees access to personal health records, self-diagnosis tools and virtual consultations with a provider through aetna’s new health stations. it’s not an onsite clinic. but then again, it probably doesn’t require the large population a clinic does to be economically feasible.
“Some Aetna (NYSE: AET) members can now check their blood pressure or get care for minor health issues, such as a sore throat, at work and without waiting for an appointment with their primary care doctor. New freestanding, individually operated health stations from Computerized Screening, Inc. (CSI) are an innovative twist on the traditional worksite clinic and give members access to health care assessments and consultations at their place of business.”