Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design at the University of Michigan, urges consumers to look for health insurance plans that provide incentives for using preventive measures, medical procedures and medications that have been scientifically proven to be effective. These types of plans "make all the tiers better by lowering cost sharing for services that produce a lot of health and, if necessary, raising cost sharing for services that should not be used," he says. "Consumers get more for their money." For example, a value-based plan may waive the $20 copayment for a doctor's office visit if the patient is getting a diabetic foot check, which can prevent more serious and costly problems in the long run.
While no one can predict how consumers will respond once the marketplaces open, health advocates such as Kominski remain hopeful. "There is a lot of reason for optimism that consumers are going to be better off."
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