A for-profit company based on the idea that health plans should spend pennies to save dollars has a new leader.
The board of SeeChange Health has named Bryce Williams to succeed Martin Watson as the company’s president and chief executive officer.
Martin Watson — a former executive at Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), and the founder of Cardtronic, an early personal health account payment card company — started SeeChange in 2008 to create a company embodying the concept of “value-based insurance design” (VBID).
A VBID plan uses out-of-pocket costs, networks, covered drug lists, and other health plan features to encourage people to spend more money on blood pressure control, weight-loss, tobacco cessation, diabetes control and other measures that may sharply reduce spending on expensive hospital care.
SeeChange has been trying to offer both VBID-based insurance and VBID-related services, such as services designed to analyze plan enrollees’ use of care and persuade the enrollees to get the right kinds of preventive care.
The drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) borrowed from the SeeChange playbook when they included a provision that requires non-grandfathered major medical plans to pay for many basic preventive services, such as checkups and flu shots, without imposing out-of-pocket costs on the enrollees.
But the insurance arm of SeeChange ran into turbulence earlier this year. What does the change there mean for health insurance agents and brokers out in the field? Read on.
1. The change could give a boost to use of VBID concepts at private exchange plans.
One of the knocks against use of VBID strategies in the commercial insurance market is that insurers or self-insured employer plans may have to spend much-needed pennies today to reduce medical bills that will come in years, or decades, in the future.
Williams was the organizer of Extend Health, a private exchange company acquired by Towers Watson. More recently, he has been the managing director of exchange solutions at Tower Watson, one of the big players in the private exchange business. One division at Towers Watson runs the biggest private Medicare plan exchange in the country.