Description: This survey and applied policy analysis class will provide students with an understanding of dynamics and key trends in employer-provided health care benefits. In addition to an overview of the topic, three areas merit special focus. First, pharmaceutical design will be explored. Though increasing technological innovation has brought a continuous cycle of new products to market, the lack of comprehensive effectiveness studies makes it difficult to ascertain optimal benefit. Interesting voluntary efforts will be highlighted that may lay a cornerstone for greater value. A second issue covered will be retiree benefit design. An aging population, stricter financial reporting requirements, and increased costs have prompted new ways to manage post-retirement health obligations. Several models, including Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations, and access-only platforms will be discussed. Finally, the important role of employer and community coalitions in better aligning incentives among patients, providers and employers will be explored.
The focus of this seminar style course is on developing the knowledge, skills and methods necessary to better interact with employer groups. In-class work will involve class lectures, discussions, readings, speakers, activities, and assignments.