With the turn of the new year and the new presidential administration, the potential repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has dominated headlines and payers have been left in a state of uncertainty on several major issues. From the 20 million people that could become uninsured, to the removal of the individual mandate and corresponding spike in premiums, health plans are bracing themselves for unknown market instabilities.
However, payers should not lose sight of what they can control today: how to leverage data in a healthcare economy that is defined by value over volume. We connected with Bruce Carver, associate vice president of payer services, to shed light on how critical it is for payers to have a strong data-driven strategy in 2017 to prepare them for forthcoming regulatory changes.
Payers play a unique role in healthcare as they can offer providers access to robust data on their member population. That data, however, is not actionable without proper analytics that can identify potential cost savings via patient care gaps and high cost populations. In 2017, here are three evergreen cost saving areas to focus on:
- The individual market – trend where risk existed over the last three years to understand what you can take on from a cost perspective in the future. This retrospective analysis will allow payers to make strategic decisions on how to approach and cater to specific member populations, like those suffering from chronic diseases.
- Gaps in care – identify gaps in care that are driving down value, work more closely with providers and outline strategies that can start to drive down the bad debt caused by these gaps. Collaboration with providers is the only road to quality to create a holistic patient record. Start collecting information on everything from claims and demographics to clinical data generated by the electronic health records of multiple providers.
- High costs –establish a trajectory of where you are spending the most and use your data to analyze where that spend may be in the future and to course-correct throughout the year. No regulatory mandate will ever change the fact that payer organizations need to have a strong understanding of their profits and losses. Is there an at-risk patient population that needs more interventional resources now before they progress to a chronic condition? Are some of your high cost groups associated with medication adherence issues? These are just some questions to ask and address when examining spend vs. value.
Whether or not the ACA remains, data is still king and leveraging that information to work smarter, faster and more efficiently should always be at the forefront of any business strategy. Simultaneously, focus on the initiatives that align with trends and your mission, such as the journey to value.