Course Description

How can we improve the design of health insurance to save money while keeping people healthy? Explore the complexities of health insurance and opportunities for change with Kevin Volpp and David Asch, leaders in behavioral economics and health care innovation. Through brief interview videos, hear first-hand perspectives on Walmart’s Centers of Excellence program, the roles of insurers and providers, and organizations that integrate a health plan with a delivery system. Apply your learning as you propose policies and practices to curb spending, and identify barriers to achieving improved health without increasing spending. 

Specific course topics include:

  • Medicare problems and potential solutions 
  • health insurance choices 
  • price transparency 
  • driving behaviors through benefit design 
  • negotiating with insurers 

Course guests: 

  • Roy Schwartz, Vice President, Managed Care and Payer Relations at Penn Medicine 
  • William Shrank, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Humana 
  • Sally Welborn, health care policy expert specializing in employee benefits and former Senior Vice President, Global Benefits at Walmart 
Sample lecture video
A sample video from our Strategies for Health Insurance and Benefit Design course, taught by Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD

Available Course Dates: November 17–December 14, 2020

Estimated Hours/Week: 8

What You Will Learn and Do

This course is designed to help you address questions such as:

  • What factors affect health insurance benefit design in the United States? 
  • How do health insurance plans balance cost with improving health? 
  • What employer and provider considerations influence negotiations with insurers? 
  • How can incentives modify the behavior of health insurance plan members? 
  • Where are there innovation opportunities in health insurance and benefit design? 

Who Takes This Course and Why

Consultants, and managers of health care delivery, health plans, and benefits programs who want to learn together how to address cost and care. Contribute your own recommendations, based on a deeper understanding of the multiple forces that influence insurance and health. 

Clinicians interested in examining their own practices and the systems that shape them, in order to reduce costs and achieve better health. Prepare to face change by bringing innovative ideas, grounded in insight and study, to your practice. 

Not ready to enroll? Sign up below to receive a special reminder a week before the course starts.

Meet the Faculty

Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD

Dr. Kevin Volpp is the founding Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI CHIBE), Director of the NIH-funded Penn CMU Roybal P30 Center in Behavioral Economics and Health and the Penn CDC Prevention Research Center, Vice Chairman for Health Policy for the Department of Medical Ethics and Policy, and a Founders President's Distinguished Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Health Care Management at the Wharton School. He is a board certified practicing physician at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Dr. Volpp has received numerous awards for his work, including career achievement awards from the US National Institutes of Health and the Association of Clinical and Translational Science, the John Thompson Prize from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration; the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Alice S. Hersh Award from AcademyHealth; and multiple "best paper of the year" awards from various societies, including Academy Health, the Society of General Internal Medicine, and the Association for Consumer Research. Dr. Volpp is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences (IOM). He has also served as an advisor to many health plans and employers, including CVS Caremark, Weight Watchers, Ascension Health, and Mckinsey. He is a principal of the behavioral economic consulting firm VALHealth, serves on the advisory board of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Behavior Change, is a Contributing Writer for the JAMA Editorial Board, and serves on the Editorial Board of Health Care: Delivery Science and Innovation.

Dr. Volpp’s work focuses on developing and testing innovative ways of applying insights from behavioral economics in improving patient health behavior and affecting provider performance. He has done work with a variety of employers, insurers, health systems, and consumer companies in testing the effectiveness of different behavioral economic strategies in addressing tobacco dependence, obesity, and medication non-adherence. He has competitively been awarded more than $60 million to lead or co-lead studies funded by the National Institutes of Aging as well as the National Heart Lung, Blood Institute; the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders; the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation; the CDC; VA Health Services Research and Development; the US Department of Agriculture; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Hewlett Foundation; the Commonwealth Foundation; the Aetna Foundation; Mckinsey; CVS Caremark; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Hawaii Medical Services Association; Merck; Humana; Aramark; Advocate Health System; and Discovery (South Africa). His research has led to national programs on financial incentives and smoking cessation for 150,000+ GE employees in the U.S., 200,000+ CVS employees in the U.S., and numerous other widely implemented programs such as a prescription refill synchronization program for Humana members, a simple health insurance plan (“Humana Simplicity”), and an approach to increase medication refills using enhanced active choice among CVS members.

Dr. Volpp is inspired to work in health delivery innovation because of the enormous potential for us to do better in improving health than we currently do without increasing health spending. Currently our system is configured around treatment of acute illness; through the use of technology, behavior change strategies, and shifts in health financing towards value, enormous progress is possible in significantly reducing morbidity and mortality from common diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer in which health behaviors play a significant role.

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