In the area of health benefits policy, Republicans and Democrats in Congress may be starting to work together to make useful things happen.
The American Benefits Council, a benefits industry group, talks about recent positive developments in a commentary on the new Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.
The BBA includes two great provisions, and Republicans and Democrats are teaming up to support a third great provision in a separate, bipartisan bill, the council says.
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James Klein, the council’s president, says in a statement that he’s hoping those efforts will help fend off proposals in Congress to limit, or eliminate, the group health benefits tax exclusion.
“Public- and private-sector initiatives that work to better align costs with quality are likely to be much more effective than efforts to eliminate the tax incentives for employer-provided health care,” Klein says.
Here are three helpful developments the council sees today.
1. One section of the BBA will encourage Medicare Advantage program managers to let Medicare Advantage plans use value-based insurance design (VBID) principles.
VBID programs offer richer benefits for the health care that seems most likely to improve the quality of care and lower the cost, and leaner benefits for care that seems likely to increase costs without doing much to improve patients’ health.
James Klein (Photo: American Benefits Council)
Players in the commercial health insurance market say efforts to change Medicare programs and rules can end up changing the commercial market, as well, because Medicare is so big and influential.