There is a growing childhood epidemic in this country: Tooth decay is now the most common chronic illness among children. The effects of this epidemic are wide-ranging. Children lose 51 million school hours each year due to dental-related illness. And a study in southern California found that untreated dental disease may also interfere with children’s ability to learn: The study found that children with reported tooth pain were four times more likely than their peers to have lower than average grades.
A recent, high-profile hospital acquisition in Massachusetts has sparked new debate about the continued trend toward consolidation among U.S. hospitals. Boston-based Partners HealthCare, already the largest health provider system in the state, made a bid earlier this year to acquire South Shore Hospital and its affiliated physician groups. An analysis of the proposed acquisition by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission found that the merger could result in reduced market competition in the affected areas, leading to an increase in hospital charges of an estimated $23-26 million.
Consumers, employers, and policymakers all need greater transparency in health care pricing. Learn what federal and state policymakers can do to improve access to health care price information.
Early last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a new initiative designed to support state efforts to improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries and the care they receive.
As part of the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP), the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) will develop new resources for and provide technical assistance to states engaged in efforts to reform their Medicaid programs. The IAP seeks to achieve the triple aim of better care, better health outcomes, and lower costs.
New Survey Finds That Most Consumers Oppose Penalties in Employee Health Insurance Wellness Programs
Earlier today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released findings from a new survey on consumer sentiment around the role of employee wellness programs. The poll found that, while 76 percent of the public supports employers offering wellness programs that promote healthy behaviors, the majority of consumers (75 percent) are opposed to employers charging higher premiums if workers don’t meet the health goals of their workplace wellness program.
Countries that spend more on health care often also have a higher life expectancy, though many other factors can contribute to variations across countries. We graphed health care spending and life expectancy for countries competing in the 2014 World Cup Group of 16 to see how these two health indicators played out.
Reference Pricing Programs Need to Follow Key Guidelines to Ensure That They Don’t Shift Costs to Consumers
Recent news articles have highlighted how some employer-based health plans have started to set dollar caps on what they will pay for certain health care services. If a consumer goes to a provider that charges more than the cap for that type of care, he or she must pay the difference. This strategy is called reference pricing.
Reference pricing is meant to encourage consumers to shop for the best care at the best price, and it even has the potential to pressure some expensive providers to set more competitive prices.
Our infographic shows how a consumer’s costs vary depending on the provider he or she chooses for a sample medical procedure that is subject to reference pricing.
Explains how reference pricing programs, when implemented in consumer-friendly ways, can minimize price variation and encourage consumers to shop for care based on price and quality.
In health care, one of the most common questions asked by doctors, researchers, policymakers, and even patients is, “What works?” The answer lies in measuring and quantifying the quality of the different types of health care services that patients receive. To do this, quality measures are developed, typically through evidence-based research that points to a specific treatment, procedure, or drug as the clinical standard of care for a disease or condition. This research (often in the form of clinical trials) underpins much of what is practiced in medicine, providing critical information that helps the field determine the most effective treatments and approaches to helping patients.