Pharmacist holding prescriptionImproving access to high-value drugs (and making them moreaffordable) can have a significant impact on health care costs.(Photo; Shutterstock)

Your doctor always told you that an ounce of prevention is wortha pound of cure – and it seems it is very true. A new studypublished in Health Affairs shows that spending on employeehealth insurance today can lead to significant cost savings downthe road. So-called Value-based Insurance Design (VBID) is astrategy that reduces cost sharing for high-value services andincreases consumers' out-of-pocket spending for low-value care.

Essentially, getting patients to take medication that can help prevent long-termhealth issues is difficult. Costs can be too high and/or it'sharder to get people to get into the habit of prevention. However, the study showsthat a VBID strategy can change the behavior by charging less formedicines that help the most. In some cases the medicines are madefree to patients with certain conditions.

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