UnitedHealth: Payment reform could save $600B

If insurers can dramatically change how they pay doctors, healthcare costs could decrease by $200 billion to $600 billion during the next 10 years, according to a new report from UnitedHealth Group's Center for Health Reform & Modernization.

Achieving that goal requires concerted action to reform provider payment incentives, namely leaving the traditional fee-for-service model behind in favor of other payment reform initiatives, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"It is time to move past talk and convert the broad national consensus about the need to 'pay for value not volume' into action," Simon Stevens, UnitedHealth Group's executive vice president and an author of the report, said Wednesday in a statement. "Payment reform is only going to move the needle on U.S. health spending growth if it is implemented on a massive, industrial scale."

The problem, however, is that fee-for-service is a "deeply ingrained" model, with only about 33 percent of doctors supporting payment methods like fee-for-performance that provide incentives to keep patients healthy, the Star Tribune noted.

To learn more:
- here's the UnitedHealth statement and report (.pdf)
- read the Minneapolis Star Tribune article

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