Reducing Healthcare Cost

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Healthcare costs in the United States are on a continual rise with no relief on the horizon. As the population ages and lifestyles differ from one individual to the next, healthcare third party payers such as commercial insurance plans, employee health benefit plans, the Medicare program and state Medicaid programs are searching for strategies to lower the costs associated with providing healthcare benefits to their beneficiaries. Disease management programs are emerging as a way to help decrease the high cost of health care typically associated with chronic illness by coordinating care between the patient and their
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Maillett and Halterman (2004) have researched what is called the “consumer-driven approach” to healthcare options. They state that employers are struggling to offer competitive benefit packages to employees without significantly impacting their bottom line. Implementing a successful disease management program requires an initial cash investment as well as entailing on-going costs associated with the continuation of the program. The French model, researched by Stuart and Weinrich (2004), documented several advantages and disadvantages that could be prove helpful when implementing disease management programs. A significant issue for these programs is that they require cooperation from the physicians treating the patients as well as the hospitals who treated these patients and their chronic illnesses as both inpatients and outpatients. This is why I feel healthcare organizations such as hospitals have a better competitive edge to implement disease management programs than the third party payers. Any reduction in healthcare costs will still impact the industry as a whole including the hospitals, insurance companies and even the patient. While all studies and attempts at implementing a disease management program seem to be centered on the third party payer industry, the logical question to ask is
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