Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) launched Jan. 1, 2017, and ushered in a “brave, new world” for health care stakeholders. Along with providers, payers and patients, purchasers/employers will also be impacted. By providing health insurance to employees, employers may experience increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and reduced costs related to workers’ compensation, in addition to enhanced employee recruitment/retention. Healthy workplaces can, in turn, play a key role in promoting healthy communities.
I asked Cheryl Tolbert, president and CEO of the Louisiana Business Group on Health, for her thoughts about MACRA and how these changes will affect employers.
Cheryl Tolbert, CHRS
President & CEO | Louisiana Business Group on Health
Do you believe that employers are knowledgeable about MACRA and ready for implementation?
Louisiana employers are very sophisticated when it comes to benefits, and this was especially evident with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Our employers are also very knowledgeable about MACRA. Generally, as Medicare makes changes, those changes also impact employer-sponsored plans. To ready themselves for implementation, the health plans will manage the process, therefore, employers should talk to their health plan/third party administrator.
How will the implementation of MACRA impact employers in the short-term? Long-term?
New payment models that reward value rather than volume not only help to increase efficiency, they also help improve the delivery of care. Some examples include greater care coordination, increased shared care planning and partnerships with patients at all levels of care as well as with patient experience of care.
For employers, what are the biggest challenges associated with MACRA?
In my opinion, there are several key challenges:
- In general, employers will need to work with health care providers to gain enough leverage to influence the process.
- The measures need to reflect private employers because measurement alignment puts all parties moving in the same direction.
- It will be important to share feedback on metrics that employers feel are priorities with plans, brokers and providers.
- Transparency will be vital for employees to be effective health care purchasers. As a result, information needs to be made available quickly. This will help encourage consumerism.
How do you see MACRA reshaping the health care landscape?
First, I think MACRA will help foster employer partnerships and collaboration that will in turn, support the move to value-based care. Similarly, it will drive more providers to value-based payment programs. In addition, I think it will encourage Increased benefits literacy and consumerism among employees while educating them on how to use the health care system. Finally, I believe new and creative employee engagement strategies will emerge to help employees take ownership of their health.