Industry Outlook 2006 - Healthcare
Employees will face higher deductibles and co-pays by the end of the year.
Expect to hear more about "informatics" -- a buzzword for, among other things, organizing data to provide comparisons of facilities and care providers. Patient care also will get a boost from other IT developments, including greater interconnectivity, which will better integrate information on payers and providers. Such innovations can prevent duplication of tests and provide greater mobility for patients.
More so-called boutique or concierge doctors will sprout up around the state to cater to a wealthier clientele. For an annual retainer fee, which can range from $1,500 to $10,000, these doctors promise everything from same- or next-day appointments to telephone access.
Alternative methods of financing healthcare, such as health savings account, which combine savings accounts with high-deductible health insurance policies, will also gain ground.
Ultimately, as costs continue to spiral, Dr. Robert Kay, CEO of Cleveland Clinic Florida, says that consumers are going to get much more involved in their healthcare choices, including treatments. Kay anticipates an increase in "pay-for-performance" practices, a growing trend with both insurance companies and government toward paying institutions and physicians for either outcomes or standardization of care. "Scorecard medicine and 'pay-for-performance' all dovetail together," Kay says.
Can a 25-person company shop for health insurance as well as a 25,000-employee company? Jay Starkman, CEO of AlphaStaff, says yes. His Boca Raton-based PEO enables small and midsize companies to offer competitive employee healthcare benefits programs. How does he do it? "We have a sponsored health plan through Aetna healthcare. Because of the large pool of companies that make up our employees, we are able to control our costs and intelligently shop for what's best."