In this paper we review the performance of the capitation payment systems of three countries - the Adjusted Average Per Capita Cost (AAPCC) system used in the United States to reimburse Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) for insuring Medicare recipients, a somewhat similar system in the Netherlands which reimburses third-party payers for insuring the entire population and a weighted system utilized in Britain for regional funding. Our review revealed significant problems with the current version of the AAPCC formula as there is evidence of the biased selection of beneficiaries and actual losses to Medicare through its use. Furthermore, several studies show that the demographic adjusters utilized in the AAPCC formula are extremely poor predictors of future healthcare utilization relative to the potential of direct and indirect health status measures. The Dutch experience with capitated funding has been similar to that of the United States. While Dutch researchers have built on the work of their American counterparts they acknowledge that further work is needed before a fully functional system is implemented. Britain's weighted system has fulfilled its original mandate to redistribute healthcare resources based on population need but recent changes giving increased influence to age weighting could reverse some of these gains. A number of proposed improvements to these risk adjustment problems were reviewed including the development of diagnostic cost groups, the coexisting hierarchical conditions model and the use of community-rated high-risk pooling. The findings from this study can help others narrow the alternatives they need to consider when thinking of introducing capitation funding or refining already existing systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy