Thursday, July 05, 2007

P4P for patients

That’s what the Healthy Americans Act, S.334, cosponsored by Senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) seems to offer. Patients would have financial incentives to lead healthy lifestyles.

Healthy behavior incentives are working in other countries around the world. For example, in Switzerland, where only 11 percent of GDP is spent on health care and everyone is required to purchase his own private health plan, competition has led to innovative incentives. Some plans offer lump-sum cash awards for those who stay healthy; others penalize unhealthy habits or behaviors.

People respond to incentives, and if there are incentives for individuals to stay healthy, we will make a significant difference in driving down health care costs. The Healthy Americans Act promotes personal responsibility and prevention by offering discounted premiums for participation in wellness programs and by rewarding providers for helping their patients stay healthy.

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