Posts Taged healthcare

The Shift to Value-Based Care

As the shift in healthcare focuses more on value-based care, many healthcare providers, patients, and manufacturers are seeing positive trends. This shift allows for less focus on paying for prescription drugs with specific costs that are not guaranteed to meet a patient’s needs. As things are progressing in the world of value-based care, here are a few points many are making about the transition that focuses on value.

Improved Quality and Cost-Effectiveness

Increased focus on value improves overall quality of healthcare, and with this comes lower costs. High quality care does not necessarily mean it’s more expensive, which is relieving for many patients. The one issue with improved quality or performance is that it can sometimes be measured too narrowly, like in the case of length of stay. For example, patients staying at a hospital for a shorter amount of time and recovering more quickly shouldn’t be discharged as soon as possible. If their ailments are not completely cured, the hospital could face high readmissions, which leads to loss of credibility. Overall, performance and quality have improved over the past five years because of the way healthcare organizations are managing populations and putting emphasis on quality.

Quality in Specialty Industries

“Value-based care is all about shifting the incentives from paying exclusively based on volume, and instead paying for value delivered. I think it makes physicians and care providers think holistically about the patient,” said Durral Gilbert, president of supply chain services at Premiere Inc. Due to many speciality therapies having higher costs, this is especially true. When there are multiple drugs on the market that claim to cure the same condition, which one is giving patients the results they want? Because of the costs of so many of these specialty drugs and services, it’s often assumed that it’s all about how much money will be required to receive specialty treatments. Having an optimized outcome will lead to lower costs for patients, employers, and caregivers.

There are many shifts happening in the world of healthcare and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping up with everything. Our members will receive a number of benefits, such as lower fixed costs, asset protection, and valuable data. Contact us today for more information on what we provide to our members and how we could help you.

 

Read More

Value Based Care Remains a Priority in Talks of Healthcare Reform

New healthcare plans are being discussed by the Trump administration. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that healthcare in the United States is too expensive, but coming up with a solution that works for everyone is easier said than done. The Trump administration wants to ensure that patients receive the high-quality, value-based care they deserve, all while keeping prices reasonable. Here are some trends that are pointing towards high value care being a priority.

Health Spending and Consumers

With patients and consumers currently covering an increasing percentage of health costs, this trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Health savings accounts, or HSAs, will likely lead to a greater use of tax credits. A myriad of online tools are making it simpler for consumers to locate providers that offer lower costs, leading them to get the best value for their money. Medicare is also being discussed, although it will likely not receive the same spending increases it has been given in the past.

Employer Healthcare Demands

Just as employees want the best out of their health plan, employers want to see value as well. Health insurance premiums will likely increase by 6.5% this year and employers are feeling overwhelmed by increasing costs. In order to keep employers controlling costs through high-deductible plans, this will be a priority in the development of a new plan. Predictions show employers will allow employees to access care through on-site primary care physicians.

Payer Competition

Narrowing networks is one way to keep care value high and costs low. A competitive field will focus growth on new plans and tiered benefit structures. This will allow for high-value providers to be rewarded while low-value, more variable ones will not be as lucky. Bundled programs through narrow networks is one solution payers are considering to assist the high-value providers.

Many changes are in the works in the world of healthcare, and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping track of all of them.  We offer a number of member benefits to ensure everyone receives the best care and service possible. For more information on our benefits and how we can help you, contact us today!

Read More

Religious Liberty Under a New Administration

With the many changes happening to the country under the new Trump administration, it’s important to keep track of everything going on. When it comes to healthcare, there is much to follow along with, particularly the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. One other healthcare-related topic that has been discussed is the HHS mandate created by the Obama administration that requires almost all employers to provide free contraception as part of their health plans. The new administration is reviewing the mandate, which could  lead to relief for Catholic organizations.

The HHS Mandate

In 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the mandate to be required for most employers, including many Catholic organizations. The mandate covers contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs, all of which go against the teachings of the Catholic church.  In the early stages, the Obama administration made an exception to religious organizations who did not agree with the mandate. Unfortunately, the insurance agencies working with these organizations were required to provide free contraception as part of their contracts. This lead to a number of legal battles going all the way up to the Supreme Court, resulting in a decision that allowed certain organizations to come up with a solution that would please everyone.

What’s Next?

With the Trump administration reviewing the mandate put into place, many believe that exceptions will be created for religious organizations. This will lead to religious freedom for those affected by the mandate, ending the four years of legal battles with the government and religious organizations. While this is just speculation, the Trump administration isn’t holding back on altering the mandates created over the past eight years.

Catholic Benefits Trust is open to all Catholic organizations nationwide. Dealing with the HHS mandate is not a legal strategy, but reducing costs and protecting assets is. We can provide improvements to current plans put into place by putting you in charge of data and improving outcomes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your organization.

Read More

The ACA and Catholic Health Officials: What’s Next?

As we are over one month in the Trump presidency, many are concerned about the Affordable Care Act repeal process and what it means to them. Many Catholic health officials are concerned about the removal of the act, as a comparable replacement has not yet been proposed. Here are a few of the major questions Catholic health officials are asking during this transition period.

Will There be a Comparable Replacement?

With the House and Senate under Republican control, the repeal of the act is going to become reality. Catholic health officials believe everyone should have access to affordable health care, so what happens when the ACA is officially repealed? The major concern is the lack of a suitable and comparable replacement that will make transitioning into a new system much easier for both health officials and patients. Once the act is repealed, approximately 18 million people will lose coverage through the employer and individual mandates. Catholic officials believe the repeal will be devastating to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

What about coverage and access to coverage?

Tim Price, Trump’s selection for head of the Department of Health and Human Services has been proposing the repeal bill. One question left unanswered is the difference between coverage for everyone and access to coverage for everyone. The debate made it all the way to the Senate, as Democrats questioned the difference between providing access or coverage will be in the alternative plan.

How can we protect the advances made by the ACA?

Despite the many changes being made during the repeal process, the improvements made by the ACA cannot be ruined. The number of people insured has increased since the ACA was created and the uninsured rate has been the lowest the country has seen since 2013. The Catholic Health Association has begun sharing stories of people and families who have been positively impacted by some of the program. The shift in health care delivery, models and payment have also made positive impacts on those who need it.

Keeping tabs on the changes being made to the healthcare world under the new administration is going to be one of our priorities this year. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we can provide more information about U.S. healthcare, as well as give our members the best benefits possible.

Read More