A Comparison of Online Medical Crowdfunding in Canada, the UK, and the US

“The growing importance of medical crowdfunding (MCF) is reflected by trends on GoFundMe, the largest social crowdfunding platform in the world. In 2011, medical causes raised $1.6 million on GoFundMe; in 2014, the amount had increased almost a hundredfold to $150 million and in 2016, more than $650 million. [..] The growing reliance of health care consumers from the US on MCF has been attributed to increasing health care costs and the lack of a publicly funded health care system. However, the popularity of MCF in developed countries with universal health care such as Canada and the UK cannot be … Read More

Rethinking Annual Deductibles: The Case For Monthly Cost-Sharing Limits

“A key contributor to underinsurance is growing enrollment in high-deductible health plans for those on the health insurance exchanges and in employer-sponsored health plans. Solutions such as consumer education, health savings accounts, and targeted cost-sharing reductions have been explored to help alleviate concerns of cost-related non-adherence to needed medical care, yet one-third of privately insured Americans report difficulty affording health care. [..] Given high health care prices, increasing deductibles (the average annual deductible in employer-sponsored insurance increased from $533 in 2009 to $1,655 in 2019), and growing high-deductible health plan enrollment (from 25.3 percent in 2010 to 47.0 percent in … Read More

A Sustainable Post-Pandemic Health Care System Needs Adjustable Payment Models

[Chernew:] I personally don’t like thinking of the payment mix as a portfolio problem because I see a whole range of broader [problems], with the fee-for-service payment writ large. Of course, I see a lot of problems with population-based payments or episode-based payments, as well. But given what happened, delivery systems are understanding that they are facing this service risk and that [..] moving to population-based payment models will give them both a little more mobility and I would argue a little more flexibility and a little more incentive to maintain and build an efficient health care system when we … Read More

Despite A Bumpy Road Ahead, Incremental Progress On Price Transparency

“the health care industry is strenuously resisting this drive for transparency. High-price providers fear public disclosure would force them to lower their rates, since many cannot prove they actually offer higher-quality care. Commercial health plans also fear transparent prices. It would erode their market advantage by enabling competing plans to demand similar rates from providers. [..] Last November, the administration released separate rules requiring hospitals and health insurers to publish their privately negotiated rates for hundreds of non-emergency, “shoppable” services. Hospital groups are fighting in court to block the yet-to-be-enforced hospital rule, arguing that it’s overly burdensome and that the … Read More

Surprise Billing for Colonoscopy: The Scope of the Problem

“Federal law eliminates consumer cost sharing for multiple methods of colorectal cancer screening, including colonoscopy when done by an in-network provider. However, some patients having screening incur considerable out-of-pocket costs because out-of-network bills are not included in federal mandates. [..] A claims database from a large national insurer was queried for commercially insured patients aged 18 to 64 years who had a colonoscopy between 2012 and 2017. Cases coded as elective with a stay of 1 day or shorter were included. The analysis was restricted to cases in which both the facility and the endoscopist were in-network. [..] The typical … Read More

Going Beyond One Size Fits All in Surgical Bundled Payments

“In existing [bundled payment] programs, surgeons are subject to identical episode length, metrics, and reimbursement. One potential unintended consequence of this one-size-fits-all approach is an uneven playing field for different surgeons and organizations—a dynamic that may explain why hospitals that bundle joint replacement differ from those that do not. Our anecdotal experiences at academic medical centers corroborate this evidence: hesitation among colleagues often stems from a belief of poor fit due to practice setting and patient case mix. [..] One approach to attracting more surgeons could be to create options (“participation tracks”) that involve delivering different sets of services to … Read More

MedPAC supports changes to the development of MA plan payment benchmarks

“The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission [..] was largely in favor of creating a new payment approach that calculates MA [Medicare Advantage] payments based on a blend of local and national spending as opposed to the current methodology, which sets benchmarks on a county-by-county basis. [..] the meeting underscored the panel’s desire to make reforms to the MA payment structure. MedPAC data show that MA plan payments are on average 2% higher than traditional Medicare. [..] MA plans submit a bid that details the estimated revenue the plan will need to cover the basic Medicare benefit in Parts A and B. … Read More

Taming The Paper Tiger

“If health care is going to spend less, some inputs will need to be paid less. This post explores the possibility of saving money by reducing the administrative costs of health care. Reducing administrative costs is attractive for several reasons. Administrative costs are high, perhaps a quarter of health spending, so reductions in administrative costs could yield a good deal of savings. Further, the goal of medical care is clinical care, so reducing administrative staff likely has a smaller effect on quantity and quality of care than would reductions in clinical staff. Finally, excess administrative hassles adversely affect peoples’ ability … Read More

The Mismatch of Telehealth and Fee-for-Service Payment

“the “virtual check in” code introduced in the 2019 MPFS [Medicare Physician Fee Schedule] initiated payment for short communications with patients to avoid unneeded office visits. During the PHE [Public Health Emergency], restrictions on both telehealth visits and non-visit-based communications were loosened further, importantly permitting telehealth services to originate from the patient’s home instead of a medical facility. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also agreed to pay for routine phone calls between patients and their practitioners. Medicare initially set the rate for a 5- to 10-minute call comparable to a virtual check in—about $15—pegging the fee to relative … Read More