Survey Finds Employers Loyal to Value-based Design in Health Programs

April 6, 2010 ( - A new study confirms that employers believe the use of value-based design (VBD) in health benefit programs improves employee health and productivity.

“Value-Based Design 2009,” conducted by Buck Consultants, found that among survey respondents who currently have VBD incorporated into their health programs for employees, 79% made no changes in 2009. Additionally, more than one half of these companies (56%) anticipate no changes in these benefits for 2010.   

The report explained that VBD is an engagement tool that aligns incentives for consumers, providers, and plan sponsors to improve health outcomes and economic performance through behavioral change. “We see a growing expansion of value-based design, linking the health and wealth of the individual to the health and wealth of the organization,” said Cyndy Nayer, President and CEO of The Center for Health Value Innovation, in a press release.  

The study found 87% of employers use VB levers to improve stakeholder engagement for prevention/wellness programs. Sixty percent do so for chronic care management and 80% for disease management.  

Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents waive employee cost sharing for yearly screening exams, and 40% provide insurance premium incentive for completion of a Health Risk Assessment (HRA).  

Other survey findings include, according to the press release:

  • 54% cover depression under care management programs;
  • 70% reduce/waive co-payds for utilizing the lowest cost appropriate site of care (e.g., urgent care, convenient care, onsite services, medical travel);
  • 58% provide incentives for the use of EAP programs; and
  • 35% provide incentives for financial counseling.

According to the report, the fundamental components of VBD include:

  • DATA (e.g., using medical and Rx data linked to safety, workers’ compensation, and disability impact),
  • DESIGN (e.g., a planned program of insurance design and incentives/disincentives to guide better behaviors in health management),
  • DELIVERY (e.g., the suite of health services, health information technology, and communications) that supports meaningful actions to improve health outcomes, and
  • DIVIDENDS (e.g., the improved health status, quality, performance, and economic improvement that drive sustainable and predictable results).

“Value-Based Design 2009 – Survey Report January 2010” is here.