What will 2012 Look Like for Health Care?

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I was recently asked by a reporter for some trends that I expect to see in 2012. I thought I would share my bullet points on the Pioneer blog:

In no particular order.

  • Continued provider consolidation, both locally and nationally.
  • Greater cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid, as both federal and state government continue to cut reimbursement levels. On a related side note, I think over the next few years you will see cash-based pre-paid practices opening in Boston.
  • Gains in the use of high-deductible and health savings account plans nationally. The question for 2012 is whether Massachusetts will break out of its status quo and catch up.
  • The story I will be watching for in 2012: The interaction between cost saving reforms (global budgets, ACOs, limited networks, etc) and individuals that have put off care because of the economic downturn. When will these folks reenter the medical system in a meaningful way? And how will we pull apart and separate the impact of the economy from the reforms being implemented? In my mind, the true test for the sustainability of any reform will be revealed when the economy turns around and these patients start to return to receive the care they have been putting off. (Perhaps, I am a year off, and this will not be a full blown story until 2013, or even 2014, which if the ACA remains on the books, we could have a prefect storm brewing for 2014 as coverage is widely expanded and latent demand returns to the system)

You can find me on twitter: @josharchambault