Tiered Provider Networks
The purpose of this project is to determine where and how tiered provider networks are utilized, to describe the characteristics of these networks, and to develop insights into strategies used by health plans when implementing and operating tiered provider networks. The concept underlying tiered networks is that health plans may be able to reduce costs and/or improve quality by directing consumers to certain providers and to avoid others. Unlike traditional HMO arrangements, tiered network plans typically allow members to access all providers, not just a subset. Through a variety of tactics, such as the disclosure of provider ?scores? as well as differential cost sharing arrangements, consumers are encouraged to shop for health care services among select and non-select providers.
In collaboration with Mercer Human Resource Consulting, a set of questions will be included in this firm?s 2005 web-based Survey of Employer Sponsored Health Plans. To answer questions that cannot be addressed with a structured response survey, site visits will be conducted, including personal interviews and focus groups, in five case study communities in which tiered provider networks are operational. Finally, to assess the direction and magnitude of changes occurring in tiered network programs, information derived from the analyses of 2005 survey results and site visits will be used to develop a refined set of tiered network questions for the 2006 Mercer survey.
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Policy Brief on Federal Health Care Reform
In this policy brief, Dr. Andrew Coburn of the Muskie School discusses three of the main components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): health insurance coverage, delivery system improvement, and cost containment, highlighting some of the provisions of the law that have already been implemented and those where important implementation decisions will have to be made.