Innovation in health plans

by jerry on March 17, 2019
Kaiser Health News reported on some changes that insurers are experimenting with. Not all changes are good, but some experimentation can lead to major changes.

As described in Kaiser Health News' article, the North Carolina Blue Cross Blue Shield rolled out an insurance policy this year that does not include an actual network of providers, simply an agreement to pay 140% of what Medicare would pay. On the face of it, this arrangement seems to expose policyholders to an enormous amount of risk. However, this type of policy might work out reasonably for certain groups: for example, policyholders that are healthy and essentially never see a doctor, or policyholders that are picky about which providers they see and are able to pay the difference. The first group might be able to save 15% to 30% in annual premiums, but many years of savings could be wiped out by one catastrophic incident. The second group could find it more freeing to be able to select whichever provider.

Overall, these experiments are signs that the current system is inadequate for many, as well as a manifestation of the hunger that some feel in finding an alternate solution.