The nation’s attention has been focused on Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) enrollment numbers. The two key questions are 1) How many of the uninsured would purchase health insurance, and more importantly, 2) have enough young people (read: healthy who don’t consume much health care) enrolled to keep overall payouts down and plans viable?
The answer to that question is “yes.” Over 8 million have signed up through the state and federal insurance marketplaces. Another 5 million purchased plans outside the exchanges. While the data is not complete, surveys report an overall drop in the number of uninsured. The number of young people signing up did jump towards the end of the enrollment period and the health plans seem happy with the risk pools.
So, what’s next? As discussed in a previous post, concerns about limited provider networks were likely when people began to use their new coverage. The low-cost plans offered through the health insurance marketplaces come at a price: less choice. The privilege of seeing any doctor you want will cost more. However, is the freedom to assemble your own health care dream team actually good for your health?
Anyone who’s undertaken a major home renovation knows how hard it is to manage and coordinate the contractors' work to ensure materials aren’t wasted, the plumber doesn’t ruin the freshly painted wall and the job is finished on time and under budget. It’s no different in health care. However, when doctors don’t communicate, share results and harmonize their treatment plans, more than another gallon of paint is at risk. Care coordination improves outcomes and reduces health care expenses. Redundant care is reduced and mistakes are caught before they turn tragic when patients are under a team’s care.