Bundled Payment vs. Fee-for-Service: Impact of Payment Scheme on Performance
Management Science, 63(5), 1606-1624
56 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 31, 2016
Healthcare reimbursements in the US have been traditionally based upon a fee-for-service (FFS) scheme, providing incentives for high volume of care, rather than efficient care. The new healthcare legislation tests new payment models that remove such incentives, such as the bundled payment (BP) system. We consider a population of patients (beneficiaries). The provider may reject patients based on the patient’s cost profile, and selects the treatment intensity based on a risk-averse utility function. Treatment may result in success or failure, where failure means that unforeseen complications require further care. Our interest is in analyzing the effect of different payment schemes on outcomes such as the presence and extent of patient selection, the treatment intensity, the provider’s utility and financial risk, and the total system payoff. Our results confirm that FFS provides incentives for excessive treatment intensity and results in sub-optimal system payoff. We show that BP could lead to sub-optimal patient selection and treatment levels that may be lower or higher than desirable for the system, with a high level of financial risk for the provider. We also find that the performance of BP is extremely sensitive to the bundled payment value and to the provider’s risk aversion.
The performance of both BP and FFS degrades when the provider becomes more risk averse. We design two payment systems, hybrid payment and stop-loss mechanisms, that alleviate the shortcomings of FFS and BP and may induce system optimum decisions in a complementary manner.
Keywords: healthcare, payment models, bundled payment, fee-for-service, coordination
JEL Classification: I11, D04
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation