Innovation is Business Driven
John Torinus, the chairman of Serigraph, Inc. in Wisconsin notes in the Journal Sentinel that, “small businesses in Wisconsin are getting notices of premium increases that are the biggest in memory. Scott Fuller, a consultant with Associated Health Group, called it “the worst year I have ever seen.” He adds that current Congressional proposals will only make things worse, raising premiums by another 17% according to an actuarial analysis by BCBS of Wisconsin.
He goes on to argue that, “Three platforms for real reform of costs and care in the private sector have demonstrated that costs not only can be contained, but also lowered. They are:
- Consumer responsibility. High-deductible plans with offsetting health accounts get people’s heads in the game. With the right tools in consumers’ hands, like price and quality transparency, costs drop 20% to 40%.
- Primacy of primary care. Put care in the hands of family doctors – who stress prevention, wellness and chronic disease management as a matter of course – and costs drop by as much as one-third. Holistic care at the primary level keeps people out of the hands of expensive specialists and hospitals except when necessary.
- Centers of value. Hospital corporations that practice lean disciplines are shown to reduce errors sharply and provide prices that are one-third lower than organizations that aren’t lean. Smart payers steer their business to those value-based centers.
In his own business, he has begun offering “concierge medicine” coupled with an HSA and a high deductible health plan. The company pays the full annual fee for the concierge physician. He says, “David Kracht, an Associated Health Group consultant, calls it “bikini coverage” that provides essential coverage at the bottom (primary care) and top (catastrophic). The skimpy in-between is where health savings accounts take over.”
He concludes, “Congress thinks top-down mandates. The private sector thinks innovation. The former seldom works in an affordable manner over the long term. The latter always works.”
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