Value-based insurance design: aligning incentives to bridge the divide between quality improvement and cost containment

Am J Manag Care. 2006 Dec;12 Spec no.:SP5-SP10.


Rising costs and suboptimal clinical quality have spawned efforts to redesign healthcare benefit packages. Momentum has gathered behind 2 trends; the first, represented by disease management initiatives and pay-for-performance programs, focuses on the quality of care, and uses tools to manage patient health. The second trend, represented by increased patient cost sharing and consumer-driven health plans, focuses on the cost of care and uses financial incentives to alter patient and provider behavior. These 2 trends create a conflict for the patient in that disease management programs--designed to improve patient self-management--aim to enhance compliance with specific clinical interventions, while rising copayments create financial barriers that discourage the use of these recommended services. When patients are required to pay more for their healthcare, they buy less, even if the intervention is potentially lifesaving. Thus, the challenge for purchasers is to devise benefit packages that incorporate a range of features that complement each other in the effective and efficient delivery of care while explicitly avoiding the unwanted negative clinical effects associated with increased cost sharing.

MeSH terms

  • Cost Control
  • Cost Sharing
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / economics*
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Physician Incentive Plans / economics*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / economics*
  • United States