Experts: Even in Its Early Days, Value-Based Contracting Has Saved Money

A systemwide shift in the direction of value-based contracting has, since the turn of the century, been a cherished goal of many policymakers and health plans. A panel of experts say that a national focus on value-based reimbursement has yielded tangible results, although they say much more must be done to facilitate the value-based care transition — and point out that government may have to play an even bigger role than it already has to make that transformation happen.

Generally, value-based care is defined as paying providers based on cost and quality metrics, rather than per service or visit, and may believe widespread implementation of value-based payment could bring down overall health care spending. It’s no secret that health care costs and spending per capita are much higher in the U.S. than they are in other wealthy countries — and experts predict that commercial insurance costs are set to rise steeply over the next few years. However, according to Melinda Buntin, Ph.D., a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s schools of public health and business, increased scrutiny from policymakers and the health care sector on prices over the past two decades has had some impact.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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