- HCSC is investing $1.5 billion to develop health insurance affordability solutions including employee wellness programs, ways to address social determinants of health, and collaborative care.
Dubbed Affordability Cures, the initiative uses a mix of value-based reimbursements, reductions in care variation, and ongoing technology investments to decrease the payer’s operating costs. HCSC is also filing rates for small group ACA health plans with either lower premiums or only moderate increases to help improve insurance affordability.
Resources for Affordability Cures will be targeted into five investment domains:
- collaborative care to improve patient outcomes at lower costs
- employee wellness programming
- household healthcare finances
- supporting strategies to address SDOH in member communities
- data-driven healthcare decision making
President and CEO of HCSC Paula Steiner believes that the investments help the organization make the operational improvements it has wanted to for years by taking a considerable, but appropriate, amount of financial resources to do so.
"Over the last several years, we reduced our expenses, managed medical costs across the health care system and remained true to our commitment to stand with customers – even in tough market conditions when others wavered," Steiner said in a press release.
The Affordability Cures initiative is still in its early stages but will record and measure short-term performance by through provider and stakeholder input about consumer needs and affordability trends. Long-term performance will be determined by moderate cost trends reflected in premium costs or rates as well as the advancement of health and wellness in beneficiary communities.
Moderating premium and consumer costs remains a considerable healthcare challenge, which will require more insights as the Affordability Cures initiative operates.
"Across the board, there's still work to do," Steiner said. "Moderating premium increases year-to-year is relative. Long-term, sustained rate reduction is only achievable when all stakeholders work together to create a stable market for affordable coverage that works for our customers.”
“Many people struggle to afford health insurance,” she added. “We owe it to them to find solutions with staying power that aim for what has eluded us as a nation—and that's what Affordability Cures is all about."