Farewell to Fee-For-Service? A “Real World” Strategy For Health Care Payment Reform

The federal government projects that national health spending will rise from $2.8 trillion to $4.8 trillion over the coming decade — accounting for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. economy. There is now widespread agreement that paying health care providers on a fee-for-service basis is a key factor affecting health care quality and affordability. Such payments encourage the use of more — and more expensive — services, but fail to reward high-quality or coordinated health care.

Today, UnitedHealth Group launched a new report that explores a “real world” strategy for health care payment reform. The report:

  • assesses the spectrum of options for reforming payments;
  • publishes results of a new national survey of physicians’ views about payment reform; and
  • shares new UnitedHealth Group data and “real world” implementation experience about what it will take to genuinely unleash the potential of payment reform.

The report acknowledges that implementation challenges are substantial. It concludes by providing an action agenda on payment reform for each major stakeholder, including doctors and hospitals, health plans, and state and federal governments in their roles as purchasers and regulators.

FULL REPORT