Insurance Giant Believes Consumer Driven Health Care Can result in More Affordable Medical Insurance
Consumer driven health plans and other so-called value driven healthcare can go a long way towards reducing health insurance costs and the overall cost of healthcare in this country, according to the CEO of one of the largest insurance companies in the nation.
H. Edward Hanway, CEO of CIGNA, remarked at a recent business roundtable in Washington that when individuals are empowered to make better healthcare decisions through education, motivation and opportunity – they will. And as they do, that will have the net effect of reducing the costs of healthcare while improving the quality of healthcare, eventually making healthcare and health insurance more affordable for all Americans.
The comments came at a meeting called by the director of the Department of Health and Human Services that was convened to discus the shifting trend in the healthcare delivery system and among providers of health insurance benefits to a more consumer driven model. So called consumer driven healthcare plans that respond to market forces and the needs of better educated health consumers, are one way that large insurance companies like CIGNA are becoming more competitive in the private health insurance market. These types of affordable healthcare plans tend to have high deductibles, and are designed to be coupled with the tax incentives offered by a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Hanway spoke of the Corner Stones of Value Driven healthcare as incentives, information, public disclosure of costs, and public reporting of quality information. CIGNA is among hundreds of other companies, labor unions, private and public organizations and healthcare providers that recognize the value of providing good and easy to understand information to consumers as regards healthcare and health insurance decisions.
Hanway stressed that incentives and information are the best ways to contain healthcare costs. He pointed to CIGNA’s Custom Benefit Builder program as a proven model that has worked to provide many more CIGNA members with affordable health insurance products tailor made for their needs. The program is basically a tool that allows both consumers and employers many options. It allows them to compare premiums and benefits, co-payments, and out of pocket costs clearly and concisely, and helps consumers make the best choices.
Other insurance companies offer similar programs, and many State Departments of Health nationwide are launching similar websites that are designed to provide health insurance consumers as much information as possible.