At Florida Blue, we share the goals of the Affordable Care Act and want to see it succeed. That is why we have worked with policy makers at every level of government to discuss ways to prevent the premium increases that will result from the many taxes, fees and rating restrictions that are in the law. But that is not all we are doing in anticipation of ACA implementation. Florida Blue has also been leading the way in changing the way health care is delivered by working with providers to lower costs and increase quality of care. Taken together, our efforts to improve the law and adapt to the changing healthcare landscape it creates will put our members and all Floridians in the best possible position to benefit from the changes ahead.
As I have discussed on a previous blog, “Thoughts on Health Care Reform“ the political factors that led to passage of the ACA also led to an end result focused on access to care, with less attention paid to the cost of providing and paying for that care. In fact, many of the provisions of the ACA, if left unchanged, will have the unintended consequence of raising premium costs for individuals, families and businesses. For example, the new law imposes taxes on insurance and medical devices, which will directly increase the cost of premiums and health care. The ACA also mandates the insurance benefits that every plan must offer and restricts the ability of insurers to set rates based on age and health status. Therefore, under the law, younger, healthier people will pay more to offset the cost of insuring those in poor health. This will impact the premiums of those in the consumer and employer market alike. In such an environment, the best way to keep costs down is to keep people healthier longer. Florida Blue is a national leader in innovative health solutions to do just that.
Over the past five years, Florida Blue has saved over $1 billion for our members by working to identify efficiencies in health care delivery and improve coordination of care among groups of providers. This experience and proven commitment to quality allows Florida Blue to build upon these partnerships and strengthen our efforts to improve quality and lower costs for all Floridians. As part of this effort, we have created new payment models that allow us to optimize the link between quality and value of care.
Through innovative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) and Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), we have provided incentives for better communication and care coordination among all the health care providers involved in an individual’s health care delivery. We believe (and early results confirm) better communication and coordination will result in better medical results and lower costs than would have been the case in more traditional fee-for-service models. Similarly, Florida Blue has grown its presence in communities across Florida through retail centers that allow our employees to directly focus on people — understanding them and what they really need from their health care plan. These innovations and personal touches to our service will help create healthier people and healthier communities.
Another unique innovation is the creation of the new Florida Blue Center for Health Policy, directed by Carl Patten, Director, Health Care Policy at Florida Blue. This Center was created to further position Florida Blue as a national thought leader on health care policy issues, utilizing our experience and commitment to communities to identify key public health challenges and offer possible solutions. In the next blog post in this space, Carl will take a more in-depth look at ACOs, PCMHs and other innovative payment models that are already changing the face of health care delivery in Florida.
This information is for illustrative purposes only and is being provided to help increase understanding of the impacts of some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It does not attempt to cover all of the law’s provisions and is not intended as tax or legal advice.