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NBCH Issues Guide to Help Employers Design Benefit Plans that Keep People Healthy
Date:9/23/2009

Value-Based Benefit Design purchasing strategies encourage healthy behaviors while reducing costs

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- To assist employers in designing health care benefit programs that help people stay healthy, the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) has developed a Value-Based Benefit Design (VBBD) purchaser guide. Value-Based Benefit Design is an emerging employer trend to develop health benefit programs that use financial incentives, such as minimizing or eliminating a patient's out-of-pocket costs for high value services like prescription drugs and preventive care. Additionally these programs are designed to encourage adoption of healthy lifestyles (i.e. smoking cessation, weight management) and the use of high performance doctors and hospitals with the end goal of improved health and reduced health care costs.

The Guide, developed by the non-profit organization of nearly 60 employer-based health care coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and approximately 25 million employees and their dependents across the U.S., is publicly available and can be accessed on NBCH's website. In addition to helping employers make the business case for VBBD, the guide stresses the importance of corporate leadership, effective communication and employee support services as part of an effective benefits package. The resource provides information on implementation steps, precautions and potential barriers, and specific examples/case studies of organizations that have successfully implemented VBBD programs including Caterpillar, Gulfstream, IBM and Marriott.

"As the health care reform debate continues, it's important that we also consider how to better align consumer incentives to motivate preventive care and healthier behaviors," said Andrew Webber, president and CEO of NBCH. "By removing barriers to needed, valuable services and providing positive incentives through value-based purchasing strategies such as VBBD, employers are able to optimize their benefit plans to have healthier employees with lower health care costs."

The report was developed with support from sanofi-aventis and written by Margaret Houy, a senior consultant with Bailit Health Purchasing, LLC.

"Unfortunately, our current fee-for-service system encourages the use of high-cost, low value services and pays extra for errors," said Dennis White, senior vice president of value-based purchasing at NBCH. "As the largest buyers of health care, employers must use their purchasing power to reduce the fragmentation and misuse of health care resources to improve health."

About the National Business Coalition on Health

NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of nearly 60 employer-based health care coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and approximately 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. NBCH will host its annual employer conference November 8-10, 2009 in Scottsdale, AZ. For additional information visit: www.nbch.org.

Value-Based Purchasing

Key principles of value-based purchasing include: measuring the performance of health care providers, including physicians, health plans, and hospitals; reporting performance data to the public to empower consumers and other purchasers of health care; paying more to those physicians, hospitals, and other providers who deliver excellent performance; and adjusting benefit designs so that they promote improvements in health care systems and contain overall health care costs.

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Andrew Webber

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SOURCE National Business Coalition on Health
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