Health Care Delivery Innovation
Yes, there is innovation in health care delivery systems for self-insured employers. Here are excerpts from an article from ZDnet:
The author of the article is unhappy with the innovative delivery system, because it would cost American jobs. Of course. The export of medical procedures is driven by excessive American government regulation, foiled by American ingenuity. Regulation is the bad guy here, not the innovator.
Steven Lash, CEO of Satori Medical World, has a patent on how to do this [provide low-cost, high quality self-insured health care]. (Satori is a term used by Japanese Buddhists for a sudden flash of individual enlightenment.)
Here is how it works.
Lash has spent the last year building a network of hospitals around the world that offer first-rate care, based on international standards, at prices a fraction of what you would pay in the U.S., plus experience dealing with English-speaking patients.
“We are sending people to Mexico, to Monterrey. We hope to add Mexico City. At the first of the year they will be going to Panama and Costa Rica. Then we have the Philippines, India, Thailand, Turkey and Singapore.”
Lash has also spent time calling on these self-insured companies, persuading them to his idea, trying to get a chance. “We would become embedded as a health care option for their clients. They would have a choice of going to five network options and we’d be the sixth. We don’t replace the benefit. We become an option.”
To make sure this works, Lash will also choose patients carefully. If you have co-morbidities, stay. If your case is just emerging, stay. The benefit will be offered to those who need a defined procedure only.
The savings here can be huge. The patent covers what happens to them.
“We have a business method patent whereby the employee gets to share in the savings through a deposit in a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).
“If the savings are $40,000, the employer shares $8-10,000 with the employee and makes a deposit in their HRA. This money can then be used to do co-pays, deductibles and for further premiums.”
HRAs are defined by the Treasury Department, and are different from Health Savings Accounts in that they are “100% employer funded, and non-portable. It rolls over. There’s no limit on what you can put in. And it can pay for first dollar coverage.”
There are incentives here for both sides. The self-insurer pockets big savings, plus they build loyalty because the employee isn’t going to leave with a big HRA balance. The employee, meanwhile, may save enough to pay for the next year’s premiums, or the birth of their next child.
Yes, you’re exporting the practice of medicine overseas, but that’s the market. Those with real insurance won’t see this for years because such things need to go through state regulatory processes.