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Kansas City-area value-based plan project shows savings after first year

Kansas City-area value-based plan project shows savings after first year

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Nine of 15 Kansas City-area employers participating in a yearlong value-based insurance design project saved an average of $194 per employee by focusing on prevention and improving health status, the Kansas City Collaborative said Thursday.

The savings were generated despite increasing benefits by waiving copayments for certain preventive care services and for medication for chronic conditions and adding healthy cafeteria and vending machine options, on-site fitness facilities and smoking-cessation programs, among other things.

In addition, 50% of the participating employers charged employees lower insurance premiums for completing one or more of the following: taking a health risk assessment, obtaining an annual physical, becoming a nonsmoker or reducing body weight by 5% or more.

Although 15 employers participated in the Kansas City Collaborative, so far only nine employers have released data quantifying the results. The remaining employers are expected to report their data at a later date.

Participating employers, representing 400,000 Kansas City-area employees and dependents, included: The American Academy of Family Physicians; American Century Investments; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City; BlueScope Steel N.A.; Cerner Corp.; Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics; City of Kansas City, Mo.; H&R Block Inc.; Hallmark Cards Inc.; JE Dunn Construction Group; Kansas State Employee Health Benefit Plan; Lockton Cos. L.L.C.; St. Luke's Health System; Sprint Nextel Corp.; and the University of Kansas Hospital Authority.

“A valuable result of this project for us was the ability to pull together and interpret our own data, as well as to gain insight into what other employers were doing,” Stephen Best, vp and director, compensation and benefits at JE Dunn Construction, said in a statement.

“Armed with this information, we were able to work more closely with our vendors to design benefits that removed barriers for things like preventive services and encouraged engagement in wellness activities for our employee partners. And, we were able to do this is a way that reduced costs while improving health,” Mr. Best said.

The Kansas City Collaborative, spearheaded by the Mid-American Coalition on Health Care, is part of the American Health Strategy Project, a program of the Washington-based National Business Coalition on Health supported by Pfizer Inc.

Similar VBID projects are being conducted by NBCH member coalitions in Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

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