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Perspectives on Medical Benefit Evolution

Posted by Matt Breese on Jun 21, 2017

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Over time, medical benefits and restrictions have changed and expanded in the United States. Looking back at the historical timeline of healthcare policy can help provide context on the state of American healthcare as it exists today.

Before the 1930s, individuals were mainly responsible for covering their medical costs. In 1943, employers began to sponsor health insurance for the first time. According to JP Griffin Group, companies initially offered health benefits as a method to prevent inflation after WWII:

“To combat inflation, the 1942 Stabilization Act was passed. Designed to limit employers' freedom to raise wages and thus to compete on the basis of pay for scarce workers, the actual result of the act was that employers began to offer health benefits as incentives instead.”

The History of Healthcare Benefits in the U.S.

In the years following, medical coverage options have continued to change. Here are some notable events that shaped healthcare benefits as they are today:

  • In the 1950s, healthcare coverage options expanded due to bargaining efforts by labor unions
  • In 1957, vision care became an offering
  • In 1959, dental benefits became an offering
  • In 1965, the Medicare and Medicaid systems were created
  • In the 1970s, the cost of healthcare greatly increased, and the Health Maintenance Organization Act was signed to help reduce costs
  • In the 1980s, healthcare organizations begin to consolidate which created larger hospital systems
  • In the 1990s, managed care groups increased to help mitigate care costs
  • In 1993, the Clinton's plan for healthcare conform was rejected by Congress
  • In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed
  • In 2017, the American Health Care was proposed, (currently under consideration by the Senate) 

As the American healthcare system continues to evolve, MMIT Network helps pharma market access teams with specialty drugs and highly managed drug classes understand medical benefits and restrictions. Read MMIT’s post on medical benefits and restrictions to learn more!


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Topics: Market Access