Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ezra K finally finds a nut!

As we've repeatedly knocked Ezra Klein's less-than-stellar grasp of insurance issues, it seems only fair to point out when he actually gets it right. An on-going IB meme has been consumer-centric health care, the goal of which is to educate and empower insureds to make more efficient health care choices.

Ezra reports that Blue Cross of Massachusetts (BXM) is attempting to do just that. He may actually be a closet IB reader, acknowledging early on that "Massachusetts has had, for years now  ... some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country."

BXM has introduced a new "tiered" co-pay system to incent its insureds to choose less expensive, but equally effective providers. It's not really new - Golden Rule flirted with this a few years ago, as did other carriers - but it's notable for the particular market, and its scope.

And it seems to be working. CEO Andrew Dreyfus reports that:

"[We] haven’t heard much in the way of complaints from the employers ... however, heard from one of Boston’s more expensive hospitals.

They were starting to lose referrals because of the new payment model... ‘can I lower my prices?’ I said, ‘absolutely.’”

Qualified kudos to Klein.

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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