Obamacare and wellness programs

Would anyone — insurers, employers, government — be interested in software that calculates monetary reimbursement based upon patients meeting certain health goals?   Safeway very publicly (2005) started reimbursing employees’ premiums based on health indicators. They encouraged healthier habits and exercise. Would other, perhaps smaller, companies or organizations be interested in this same model, made cheaper and automated with a software solution?

Would Be Entrepreneur

Dear Would Be Entrepreneur,

The answer to your question is “build it and they will come”.  The real question, however, is whether the pay-for-health scheme actually works.  And that answer is a resounding no.

Safeway’s program hit the headlines as a money saver and it became the model for the wellness provisions in the Affordable Care Act.  Much later, perhaps buried on page twelve, came the news that Safeway’s claimed savings were based upon false information.  Savings were included in the total that happened even before the program began.

Employer wellness programs have not been shown to have an impact on health or on costs.  Nevertheless, the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for wellness program stand and employers will want to apply them.  Your software would give them a rational basis for charging certain employees more (up to the 30% maximum allowed in the ACA).  You might have a very profitable business selling this.  To be scientifically honest, don’t promote it as a way to reduce costs or improve health.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.