Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HSA's becoming more and more effective

A recent research project (1), with more than 14,000 responses, found Health Savings Accounts are "helping employees make better decisions about their own health care."

Some of the findings include:

+ 56% of individuals found "their HSA qualified plan provides an affordable health care option".

+ 75% of individuals indicated "the ability to personally control their own health is an extremely or very important benefit of HSAs".

+ Individuals are doing things such as " engaging in healthier lifestyle choices - researching preventive care programs - shopping for lower priced prescription drugs - plan health care better throughout the year".

+ 82% of individuals reported "the ability to save tax-free money was extremely or very important in selecting an HSA."

+ 79% indicated "having an HSA is valuable to them."

Employers report HSA plans cost less than standard PPO plans:

+ 77% of them believe "their High Deductible Health Plan with a HSA are key in controlling health care costs."

+ 69% contributed "an average of $1,000 for individual coverage".

(1) The survey, created this fall by two Xerox companies, was commissioned by ACS and conducted by Buck Consultants.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The role of Accountable Care Organizations in reform health care

Much of the medical treatment being provided today is done by MDs, Labs, Hospitals and other facilities indpendent of each other. This approach is called a fee for service system and has a lot of inefficiencies. As a way to more away from fee for service the Federal level health reform provided funding to establish what are called Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). This new approach involves a significant change in technology to support the delivery of medical treatment. It will effect not only providers but for you and I as consumers of health care services. When ever a change as significant and expensive as this takes place there will be considerable debate over whether it will be effective. This is certainly the case with ACOs. It is important for employers to understand this change as it begins to evolve, since it may lower the cost of delivering medical treatment. The way a ACO develops will not be the same in all areas. Consumers should also be aware since they will begin to notice changes in the way services are provided as ACOs are implemented over a period of time. I recently became aware of and want to share a report by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation. It details ten useful things to understand about this approach. It provides
some interesting insight into accountable care organizations (ACOs)