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UHCAN Ohio Launches Affordability Survey

Continuing our series on the affordability of health coverage and health care, we introduce our survey on health care affordability for people with chronic illnesses. Click here to take the survey now.

Imagine a health plan where the medicine you need the most costs the least. Sound like a dream? Not necessarily. Some health plans, including those run by state retirement plans, are experimenting with Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID). Under V-BID, the health insurance plan reduces co-pays on the treatments that people with chronic illness need the most to stay healthy (“high-value” treatments), and raises co-pays on treatments that are considered “low value.”  

Let’s say that the insured person has diabetes. Is it not more cost-effective to offer insulin at a low co-pay and also pay for testing devices and supplies than to pay for a hospital admission for uncontrolled diabetes, or worse, the amputation of a limb?

V-BID is being tried in some of Ohio’s retirement plans. Employers that self-insure their employees have a strong interest in V-BID.

UHCAN Ohio got interested in V-BID because paying for care in ways that make it easier for people to stay healthy supports the idea of “better care, lower costs.” Lowering costs and improving care is the goal of the State of Ohio’s State Innovation Model (SIM) grant. Working within Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, we have been representing consumers at the SIM table.

The major health insurance companies are at the table designing ways to reduce overall costs. Might V-BID not be added to their tool-kit? Wouldn’t it be great if chronically ill people insured by those plans could secure their diabetes or heart medications more cost-effectively? It could make a difference in our continuing effort to reduce health disparities. (See issue brief of the University of Michigan’s Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.) And Medicare announced in September 2015 that it will create a V-BID model in Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Our readers can help move Ohio health plans closer to V-BID. UHCAN Ohio is pushing out a survey targeted at people with chronic illnesses. We will use the findings to advocate for changes in health plans that could improve the ability of consumers with a chronic illness to access the care they need at a price they can afford. If you are a person with a chronic illness or a caregiver of such a person, click here to take our survey. We will keep the survey open one week and use the results to help us improve the survey. We will then push it out to a broader Ohio audience.

Be part of the change. Take our survey now