Connecticut Healthcare Spending Fourth Highest in U.S.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Healthcare Cabinet met earlier this week to hear a consultant’s preliminary recommendations for addressing rising healthcare costs.
The report was prepared in response to a law passed in 2015 directing the cabinet to develop healthcare cost containment and quality strategies.
Connecticut’s annual per capita healthcare spending is $8,654–second-highest in New England and fourth-highest in the country.
Bailit Health, the consultant, presented over 90 pages to the cabinet, including recommendations for the consolidation of more than a half-dozen existing state agencies into a single oversight body.
It also suggested revamping the state Medicaid and state employee health plans to utilize consumer care organizations.
Healthcare providers in consumer care organizations would be paid based on the quality of care rather than the current flat-fee system.
It is unclear how the Bailit recommendations would mesh with current regulatory efforts, including the State Innovation Model, and the Department of Public Health’s Health Improvement Plan.
A lot of questions remain to be answered. The cabinet is scheduled to finalize the report in November.
Speaking of other initiatives: The State Innovation Model continues to move forward, specifically the Value Based Insurance Design group, which presented draft templates to the SIM Steering Committee.
The VBID group is also reviewing a guide for self-insured employers who want to know more about the initiative.
VBID is an effort to adopt insurance plan designs that encourage or discourage certain types of behavior in an effort to increase quality and decrease costs.
For example, a plan may offer certain prescription drugs at no cost in an effort to remove any cost barrier to taking the prescription.
Finally, a third regulatory effort by the Department of Public Health–the State Health Improvement Plan–is also moving forward.
This effort is aimed at community health and its subgroups include chronic and infectious disease prevention, environmental health, and health systems, among others.
The department’s website provides a unique data-driven glimpse at health in Connecticut.
For example, part of the site offers information regarding hospital emergency department use among asthma sufferers.
The CBIA Health Affairs Council continues to provide feedback to these initiatives to ensure the employer perspective is heard.
It is clear the cost of healthcare must be addressed, as it is becoming increasingly difficult for employers to help pay for their employees’ health insurance plans.
Rising premiums have an impact on an employer’s bottom line. With so many regulatory efforts underway, it is vital that key areas for change are prioritized.
Connecticut must identify ways to tackle the cost of healthcare but we must act carefully.
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