Heading Off High-Cost Complications in Elderly

Monday, February 1st, 2010
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

In spite of President Obama’s plea last week for renewed commitment to healthcare reform, the nation’s priorities appear to be gravitating more toward job creation and budget deficit reduction. Meanwhile, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that even after a yearlong media blitz, many Americans remain unfamiliar with key elements of the two major healthcare reform bills passed in the House and the Senate. A featured story in this week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update, the poll also found that while Americans are divided over health reform proposals, many become more supportive after being told about many of the major provisions in the bills.

We also present new data that could help control healthcare costs and utilization among Medicare beneficiaries. Contrary to popular thought, Brown University researchers now believe that increasing co-pays for outpatient visits — at least for senior citizens — may make care far more expensive. They determined that patients faced with higher co-payments did cut back on doctor visits, but ultimately required expensive hospital care because their illnesses worsened. Aetna hopes to avoid this with its user-friendly strategy for heading off high-risk complications among its elderly. Listen to the details in this week’s HealthSounds podcast.

New month, new survey. We’re taking another look this year at the way healthcare uses economic incentives to drive participation and results in health and prevention programs. Complete the survey by February 28 and get a summary of the results.

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