Have your employees ever delayed a needed doctor visit or medical test until they could save up the money to pay for it? Has your business set aside growth plans because your company’s health care expenses cost too much? A 2016 Commonwealth Fund survey found that 33% of Americans delayed or avoided necessary care due to costs. A 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that, of people who had problems paying their medical bills, 70% cut back on food, clothing or other basic household items, and 41% took on additional work to cover the costs. This concerns us and the health professionals who care for you. Here in Michigan, Blue Cross and most doctors and hospitals statewide have been working together for nearly 15 years to improve the way health care is delivered. This has made a significant impact on the quality and safety of medical and surgical care. These collaborations have resulted in fewer ER visits and hospital stays, because patients get the care they need from their doctor’s office before conditions escalate. Collaborations have helped to prevent complications, like blood transfusions or infections after a surgical procedure. This reduces the time your employee might spend in a hospital, reduces the need for additional treatment, and improves recovery time. In total, these collaborations between Blue Cross, doctors and hospitals have saved nearly $2.2 billion dollars. It’s a great start. But we know it’s not enough. We want your employees to be able to get the care they need, without worrying about whether they can afford it. So, we’re taking what we’ve learned from these 15 years of collaborative efforts and we’re continuing down that road. We’re looking at different ways to pay doctors or hospitals based on how well they coordinate and manage their patients’ (our members’) care. We’re studying and implementing new agreements with hospitals and physicians that reward them for improved health outcomes, efficiency and quality. In these new agreements, health care providers share in the savings that accrue when quality improves. If providers don’t achieve quality outcomes for their patients, they may even owe money back to Blue Cross – which we will return to our customers in the form of lower premiums. Blue Cross continues to work together with health care providers because we want our members to get the care they need, without complications, errors, or duplications, and without financial burden. Listen to the first group of physician organizations and health systems who are raising their hands and signing on to these new arrangements. They agree with us. You deserve quality healthcare that is affordable for your company, and for your employees. We know many say it can’t be done. We say, “Let’s do this.”
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