Get Paid to Take Your Medications

It seems strange, but you really might start getting paid by your insurer to take your medications, quit smoking, and go to the gym regularly.  According to Forbes magazine’s Robert Szczerba, we should watch for a big shift in the healthcare industry.  We currently have a “fee for service” model, where doctors and hospitals get paid for each service they provide.  But in “Why Your Insurance Company Will Pay You to Take Your Medicine,” Szczerba says that the shift will take us to a “fee for outcome” model instead.  This means that doctors and hospitals will get paid when their patients have a successful health outcome, no matter how many services they have provided.  This approach is meant to help lower overall healthcare costs and will reward patients and doctors with smaller “micro” payments rather than the large “mega” payments that providers currently receive.

Right now the healthcare system is way too focused on big money.  Medical students want to go into big money specialties and marketers target big money medical devices.  Large payments from insurance companies to doctors and hospitals encourages them to continue ordering more tests and doing more procedures.  When we have the mindset that more care is better and that we need intervention instead of waiting minor problems out, and doctors and hospitals get paid more for each intervention, it’s the “perfect storm” for America’s overuse of health care.  We use more services than anyone else but are certainly not the healthiest nation by far.  In order to make this overall change to the health care system, we as Americans have to change our mindset when it comes to healthcare, health insurance, and overall health.

Believe it or not, clinical health care is only a 20% factor in our overall health care.  Healthy behaviors actually account for 30% of a country’s overall health and 40% is made up of socioeconomic factors.  It’s more effective to focus on preventative care like smoking cessation, exercising, eating right, and properly taking prescription medications.  Close to 1/3 of prescriptions never get filled.  In most cases, it is cost effective to pay patients $1 per day for keeping up with heart or diabetes medication than it is to pay for their future problems related to not taking prescribed medications.  When doctors take a conservative and supportive approach to medical care by not ordering unnecessary testing and taking a wait and see approach when applicable, thousands of dollars can be saved.  Micro payments to doctors who are conservative encourages better behaviors all around and can lead to lower overall healthcare costs.  Those people who are truly sick will still receive the necessary testing and treatments in this new system.  But people who are a little bit sick or not really sick at all will be given a more conservative treatment approach to save money all around.  Health insurance companies will even be able to lower premiums when the system isn’t so misused and overpriced.

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