Pre-existing conditions and the future of US healthcare

“Pre-existing conditions” are (should be?) at the heart of the debate about the two approaches to reforming healthcare financing on display from our Presidential candidates. I found this article by Avik Roy resonated with me. [Read more…]

Emergence of the 401(k) health plan?

401(k) healthcare

401(K) 2012

The idea that health insurance might follow the trajectory of retirement finance, with employer-covered insurance moving toward a defined contribution, 401(k)-style approach, rather than the current, defined benefit, Pension-like approach is one I have written about before.

In today’s news (WSJ) is an article describing how a handful of employers are transforming the way they offer healthcare for their employees. Instead of the employer selecting the insurance plans, and offering them to the employee, these employers are apparently giving their employees a fixed sum of money and letting them select their own choice of insurance plan (from a predefined set of choices). In other words, these employers are moving from a defined benefit approach  to a defined contribution approach, just as pensions moved a few decades ago from defined benefits (pensions) to defined contributions (401(k)’s).
[Read more…]

Petri dish for innovation: Consumer driven health?

Petri dish of innovationI’ve written before about the idea that segments of the healthcare system where patients pay for themselves may be a fertile focus for innovation because of the tight connection between “who pays” and “who benefits”. News today reinforces this hypothesis, suggesting there are actually quite a few of these potential customers. [Read more…]

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