Small Colorado Ski Towns Banded Together To Drive Down Health Costs. But Can That Model Work Statewide … Or Even Nationwide?
Residents who were sick of paying astronomical health care costs figured out a way to come together so that they had negotiating power over the health groups in their area. But will other cities in the state be able to replicate the group's success in areas where there's less fat to trim? In other news on insurers and the health industry: medical prices continue to swell; AHIP focuses on social determinants; the importance of dental care gets lost in cost debate; and more.
Colorado’s Ski Towns Could Fix The High Cost Of American Health Care
People who live and work 9,000 feet above sea level in Colorado’s ski-resort towns have long paid more for health care than almost anyone in the U.S. For years, local leaders from Summit County, home to the slopes of Breckenridge, decamped to Denver to plead for relief. The annual journey to the capital became a discouraging pilgrimage for Tamara Drangstveit. As executive director of a nonprofit that helped people sign up for health coverage, she watched premiums gobble up more of household budgets every year. From 2015 to 2019, the cost of a midlevel health plan for a single 40-year-old in Summit County more than doubled to $606 a month, 34% above the national average. (Tozzi and Recht, 6/21)
Rising Prices Drive Estimated 6% Medical Cost Inflation In 2020
Medical costs are projected to rise 6% in 2020 as prices continue to swell and utilization stagnates, according to a new report. Despite employers' efforts to stem unnecessary care through high-deductible health plans, medical cost growth still outpaces general inflation, PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute's analysis of employer-sponsored healthcare spending found. The 2020 projection aligns with the average medical cost inflation over the past five years and is down from double-digit spikes in the 2000s. (Kacik, 6/20)
AHIP Launches Social Determinants Initiative
Insurance lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans launched an initiative on Thursday to spark collaboration among health insurers to address the social factors that affect patients' health. The initiative—called Project Link—represents the health insurance industry's "commitment to addressing social determinants of health and how we can make a really important difference," AHIP CEO Matt Eyles told reporters at the annual AHIP Institute & Expo in Nashville, Tenn. (Livingston, 6/20)
Often Lost In Health Care Debate, Lack Of Dental Insurance Impacts Millions
Although it can be tempting to skimp on dental care for those who lack insurance, untreated dental problems can lead to other health complications and higher medical costs, said Evelyn Ireland, executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans. A 2014 study by the group showed that when adult Medicaid recipients had preventive dental care, medical costs for seven chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease, were lower by 31% to 67%. (Amaro and Hayden, 6/20)
Georgia Health News:
Market In Pre-Owned Diabetic Strips Worries Experts
People who have strips that they don’t need may want to sell them, so those who need them can buy them.They resell them via online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Craigslist. Even a search for “diabetes test strips” on social media sites such as Facebook brings up a number of groups and posts offering to buy or sell the strips. This flourishing secondhand commerce is catching the attention of manufacturers, patients’ advocates and federal health officials. (Gu, Herbert, Jones and Thomas, 6/20)