With the expansion of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), patients are taking on more responsibility in deciding what options work best for their budgets and health care needs. Roll Call Live’s “Empowering Patients as Partners in Health Care,” sponsored by CVS Health, explored consumer-driven health care – examining where progress is being made and where opportunities for improvement still exist.
The event included two keynote conversations by policymakers, an expert panel discussion and remarks by Tom Moriarty, CVS Health Chief Policy and External Affairs Officer and General Counsel, who highlighted solutions for improving prescription drug affordability.
Other participants included:
Joseph Antos, PhD, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at the American Enterprise Institute
Brian Blase, National Economic Council’s Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, President of The Commonwealth Fund
Representative Donald McEachin (D-VA)
Participants highlighted three potential solutions to help empower patients as consumers: enhancing meaningful price transparency information; providing greater benefit flexibility for HDHPs associated with health savings accounts (HSAs); and expanding personalized care.
Providing Meaningful, Transparent Information to Empower Decision-Making
As steps are being taken to increase transparency, experts believe it is important to make sure that information about health care benefits and costs is actionable for consumers. For example, Rep. Donald McEachin emphasized that transparent cost information alone isn’t enough – it must direct patients to effective care at a lower cost.
As David Blumenthal pointed out, “price information is as complicated as the health needs of the individual consuming the care,” and therefore, information should be presented clearly and be specific to a patients’ benefit plan. Supporting this, Joseph Antos explained that for information to be useful, it needs to be tailored to what patients care about – “for example, what they will actually be paying for at the pharmacy counter.”
Finding opportunities to increase transparency that improve health care decision-making is a top priority at CVS Health. Our solutions, including the Rx Savings Finder and real-time benefits, provide greater transparency from the point of prescribing to the point of sale with actionable results that are saving patients money.
Making HDHPs Work Better for More Patients
As the number of patients enrolled in HDHPs continues to grow, there are opportunities to improve how these plans work for patients, particularly those managing a chronic disease. Brian Blase outlined how the Trump administration is considering a proposal that would permit HDHPs associated with HSAs to cover more services, such as providing insulin at no cost to patients. Blase referred to this concept as “one possible way to help use insurance design to drive value by empowering patients as consumers of health care.”
At CVS Health, we advocate changing the rules governing HSAs to give HDHPs the option to cover all prescription drugs — including generic and brand drugs — outside the deductible. That way, patients can access these drugs for little or no copay if that is how the plans want to structure their benefit. CVS Health also works with PBM clients to offer preventive drug lists for many common chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, making it easier to access and afford care that puts people on a path to better health.
Connecting Patients to High-Value, Personalized Care
Incentivizing personalized care delivery that meets patients’ specific health needs can reduce costly complications and improve outcomes. The experts agreed that in the era of consumer-driven health care, more can be done to connect patients to the right care at the right time. David Blumenthal noted, “Insulin for diabetics is high-value care…hypertensive treatment, hypolipidemics for elevated lipids, exercise programs for people who are post-heart attack. These things are proven life-savers, and they shouldn’t be treated the same way as an unnecessary MRI for back pain.”
Whether it’s delivering preventive services that help keep people healthy or supporting chronic disease patients in adhering to their medications, we help connect patients to high-value care when and where they need it.
For more information on how CVS Health is working to expand access to more affordable and effective health care, check out our Cost of Care information center and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.