Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland have taken steps toward regulated competition on the health insurance market to enhance efficiency and consumer responsiveness. The rationale of giving the consumer a periodic choice of health insurer is that individual risk-bearing insurers are stimulated to effectively purchase and manage the care on behalf of their enrollees. For Europe this is largely a terra incognita, while the United States have at least fifty years of relevant experience. Twenty years ago the United States were confronted with a substantial backlash against managed care. Based on the US experience we come to the following lessons for Europe. First, the greatest backlash against managed care can be expected from the healthcare providers. Second, consumers are willing to give up to some extent their free choice of healthcare provider in return for a lower premium. Third, insurers should (be allowed to) offer consumers a choice between an insurance product with free choice of provider and lower-priced products with restricted reimbursement for non-contracted providers. Fourth, insurers should use input from consumers, provide them in a timely manner with relevant information about the (non-) contracted providers, and reassure consumers that in-network providers offer good quality care. Fifth, the development of national guidelines and quality indicators, with input from the medical profession, can increase the acceptance of managed care.

, , ,,
Health Policy
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Duijmelinck, D., & van de Ven, W. (2016). What can Europe learn from the managed care backlash in the United States?. Health Policy, 120(5), 509–518. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.03.010