Value-Based Insurance Design

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  • 12/13/2007
Just participated on a "blogger conference call" with Mark Fendrick (University of Michigan) and Michael Chernew (Harvard University). They are the co-directors of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

The VBID Center sounds like an interesting proposition. For more detail check out their website:

Many interesting points were brought up -- not the least of which was the issue of whether or not -- considering the relatively truncated lifespan of any individual's relationship with a given private payer -- Big Insurance can be convinced to offer more efficient programs that incent aggressive preventative and chronic care.

And, since the VBID program is based in the Wolverine State, I asked if they thought the new GM/Union agreement over health care would result in more patient-centric programs. Both Dr. Fendrick and Dr. Chernew demurred from making a prediction. Typical academics!

I think it will. Because (1) These are union employees who (at least in theory) will be with the insurance plan for an extended period -- so additional up-front costs (aka "investments") can be recouped over a longer period of time via enhanced productivity and fewer acute health care events and (2) Unions exist to serve their members rather then themselves (I know -- at least in theory) and should, therefore, be more willing to spend more money upfront.

Whether or not my prediction turns out to be correct -- it's a good initial litmus test for the general theory.

The VBID Center also said all the right things about the value of reimbursing for appropriate diagnostics (genomic and otherwise) -- specifically giving the thumbs up to genetic tests for Warfarin and the BRCAs.

The call lasted about an hour with many intelligent questions from the blogger audience. Strangely though, the VBID folks said their "consultant" had told them to expect a blogger call to last for only 20-25 minutes. Peculiar. But, in any event, it was time well spent.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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