US health insurer begins shift from fee for service payments

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 25 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6015
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington DC

A major health insurance company in the United States is piloting a programme for breast, colon, and lung cancer treatment that shifts away from the traditional fee for service system to a bundled payment for the entire treatment regimen. UnitedHealthcare, which serves about 25 million individual consumers through its employer sponsored benefits plans, announced the initiative on 20 October.

“By paying medical oncologists for a patient’s total cycle of treatment, rather than the number of visits and the amount of chemotherapy drugs given, this programme promotes better, more patient-centric, evidence based care with no loss of revenue for the physician,” said Lee Newcomer, the company’s senior vice president for oncology.

More than 40 cancer clinics expressed interest …

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