Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

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Consumer-Driven Health Care

Opaque prices – the norm in U.S. health care – in a key driver of inefficient, ineffective medical care and rapid cost increases.  Transparency of health care prices - public reporting of prices - is an essential ingredient for a high-value, cost effective health care system. In recent years, rising...
The number of people choosing consumer-directed health plans continued to grow in 2011, reaching 7 percent of people with private insurance. Consumer-directed or consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) are high-deductible plans paired with health savings accounts (HSAs). Individuals pay into HSAs with pre-tax income, reducing their tax burdens. The plans...
A new, highly personalized online resource for patients increases the delivery of recommended preventive services.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has published a handbook for primary care physicians interested in launching a web-based portal where patients can review their records and manage preventive care. The portal, called an Interactive...
Employers should encourage shared decision-making - which involves patients in health care decisions - as a way to reduce medical costs and improve health outcomes among employees, argues a recent brief from the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH). Patients who have a better understanding of and are more...
As the second-largest health care service purchaser, employers have an opportunity to use their substantial market leverage as a means to augment quality. If mobilized and motivated, employers could act as a key change agent by influencing other stakeholder groups, exercising a leadership role, and pushing community health plans...
Following a five-year demonstration, a new report examines the Health Opportunity Accounts Demonstration Program created by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA).  The law allowed up to 10 states to test the use of Health Opportunity Accounts as an alternative health benefit design in Medicaid. Participating states were allowed to establish Health Opportunity...
In the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), Congress authorized the new $150 million Medicaid Transformation Grant Program to help states design and implement reforms to increase quality and efficiency of Medicaid. This is a unique opportunity to help states restructure and modernize Medicaid, save taxpayer dollars, and improve services. But...
Patient-centered care - one of the new buzz phrases in health care - is all about aligning the delivery of medical care with the needs and preferences of patients. Research shows that the practices and tools of patient-centered care result in: Superior clinical outcomes Higher consumer satisfaction Improved access to needed care Reduction...
Using new flexibility created by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), states may restructure Medicaid benefits. States may now customize Medicaid health care benefits to specific populations, model some benefit package after commercial-like health plans, and offer additional benefits as incentives to reward healthier patient behavior. Based on the concept of...
Using new benefit design and cost-sharing options created by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), states are busy restructuring Medicaid programs. With recently announced approvals from HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Idaho are the first states to take advantage of DRA flexibility. With the help of top advisors,...

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