Insurance Structure to Encourage Investment in Preventative Health Care, An
The incentives for investments in Americans’ health are poorly aligned. Health insurers are not sufficiently motivated to invest for the long term. The structure of health insurance does not compensate insurers for investments in lasting health, such as measures preventing chronic disease. If an American changes insurers, the new insurer reaps the benefits of the good health the prior insurer’s investment produced. This Essay explores insurers’ incentives to invest in health, illustrates how those incentives fail, explores possible improvements, and shows that subsequent insurers should have an obligation to compensate the prior insurer for the averted expenses of expected diseases that did not emerge. This gives insurers the full incentive to prevent chronic disease while strengthening the incentives to develop cures.