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Oregon Tests New Approach to Health Insurance

Proven treatments are almost free, while others cost a bundle
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 2:06 PM CST
Oregon Tests New Approach to Health Insurance
A doctor's visit.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A new type of insurance being tried out in Oregon has a great upside: free treatment for common maladies like diabetes or depression that have proven treatments. But if you wade into muddier or more elective treatments that critics say are overused, like knee replacement or bypass surgery, it’ll cost you more than on a regular plan. Proponents, including the insurers, say the plans save money, encourage better care, and cut down on needless treatment.

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But an opponent of the approach, known as value-based insurance care, tells USA Today that it has employers and insurers “playing doctor" at the risk of “limiting access to medical care.” Says an insurance exec: “What are the treatments that do the most good for the most people at the least amount of cost? Frankly, that's where I think our health care system will end up." (Read more health insurance stories.)

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