Access and cost are the big topics in health care today, and Providence Business News’ recent Summit on Health Care Reform and the Insurance Exchange tackled them both.
But as one of the two panels at the event reported, insurance enrollment through HealthSource RI, the state’s health-benefits exchange, is not at the point it would like it be. Looking ahead the state must maintain its intensity to fix that while listening to the market if it is to help reform the health care marketplace, while creating consensus around how the exchange will be operated after federal funding dries up. And insurers must keep pushing for innovative payer approaches, from data-driven plan design to more robust product offerings.
The other panel provided proof that change to the system is possible. Coastal Medical, the state’s largest primary-care practice, reported that the first year of its accountable-care organization contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ended up beating the agency’s savings goals. A key to that success was Coastal 365, a program in which the patients had access to their doctors every day of the year, keeping them out of hospitals and in better health.
The takeaways from the summit: access and cost are intertwined, and while there is a long way to go, we have many success stories to help guide the way forward. •