Study: Value-based insurance design program boosts preventive care

A value-based insurance design (VBID) model tested in Connecticut was able to boost the use of preventive healthcare services among participants, according to new research published in the journal Health Affairs.

Value-based insurance design (VBID) has recently caught the interest of payers, customers, health providers and pharmaceutical companies, as it offers flexibility to design benefits that to meet specific health needs, thus keeping costs low, the study says. In particular, insurers can apply VBID to help reduce the costs of specialty medications. 

The Health Affairs study, which assessed the 2011 Connecticut Health Enhancement Program, found that during the program's first two years, the use of targeted services and adherence to medications for chronic conditions increased, while emergency department use decreased, relative to comparison states. For example, lipid testing among program participants increased by 15.4 percentage points in first year of the program, and colonoscopy rates increased by 5.6 percentage points.

These results show, the study authors conclude, that adding enrollee participation requirements to value-based insurance design cost-sharing changes "can have a meaningful impact on the use of targeted services." 

In addition, as the Connecticut program was one of the first to reduce cost-sharing across the spectrum of care--not just on prescription drugs--the findings may encourage other insurers to incorporate reduced cost sharing for an array of high-value services in their benefit plans. 

The program's impact on costs, however, was inconclusive, the study notes.

As FierceHealthPayer previously reported, the Medicare Advantage program is testing its own VBID model for beneficiaries with certain chronic conditions, seeking to reduce costs and improve enrollee health.

To learn more:
- here is the Health Affairs study (subscription required)

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