Discern Health recently authored a Health Affairs blog post that recommends policy changes to spur increased innovation in health benefits and improved access to care for the serious-illness population. The piece was written by Discern Director Russ Montgomery, Partner Tom Valuck, and Senior Advisor Andrew Webber.
The seriously ill, which are people with multiple chronic conditions and functional limitations, have complex health needs. Current health benefit structures in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans are falling short of covering the full range of these needs, and they often place significant financial burdens on patients and their families.
In the blog post, the authors recommend specific policy changes, including wider use of value-based insurance design to reduce deductibles and co-payments for needed services; providing additional coverage for home- and community-based services in Medicare and Medicaid; and allowing individuals to use retirement savings to purchase long-term-care insurance.
“Private insurance and public programs alike are placing substantial financial hardships on one of our most vulnerable populations. Our policy recommendations won’t completely solve this problem, but they are practical solutions that would have a real impact,” said Montgomery.
This blog post was informed by research that Discern conducted on the serious illness health benefits landscape in a project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Discern also produced a white paper on this topic that includes additional findings and recommendations.