Benjamin Isgur is a director in the PwC Health Research Institute. In this role, he develops national and global thought leadership and research initiatives for the firm and clients. Isgur also consults with healthcare systems, trade associations, and policy groups on strategic planning, and industry intelligence and trends. Prior to joining PwC, he developed health policy as a legislative director in the Texas House of Representatives and government relations officer for the City of Austin. Isgur received a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a U.S. Department of Defense fellow.

Are Health Insurance Exchange Plan Premiums Good Deals?

With the first year’s enrollment deadline just around the corner, millions of Americans are signing up for health insurance in new public marketplaces known as ‘exchanges.’ But for those who have never shopped for a health plan — or who have spent a long period of time without coverage — questions abound over how best to gauge the cost, quality, and value of an insurance package. Full Story

Employers Shift to High-Performance Networks

Increasingly, it’s not just the patient who is weighing results. Employers, who typically have a major financial stake in the health interests of their workers, are beginning to partner with specific hospitals that can deliver the best care at a lower cost, writes researcher Benjamin Isgur. Full Story

Government Penalties Pale in Comparison to Public Relations Woes

More than 2,000 hospitals were penalized by government regulators for high readmission rates last year. But it’s not just the money that matters. When hospitals don’t get treatment right the first time, or when patients receive poor follow up care, they often end up right back in the hospital—and at a cost. The Affordable Care Act wants to change that. Under the law, hospitals with high instances of patient readmissions lose a share of their reimbursement. The idea is to improve patient care, outcomes, and, ultimately, save money. The financial penalties are determined on a sliding scale—one percent of Medicare… Full Story

The Search For Health IT Talent Heats Up

As health systems evolve, so too does health information technology. For every challenge along the way, there is seemingly a solution that can be found in the ability to capture, analyze and transfer data in a digital manner. Accountable care organizations? You’ll need strong data analytics to make it work. Health insurance exchange? This requires an e-commerce platform that so far few in the industry actually have. Drug research? Better have cloud data capabilities to collaborate. Across provider, pharma and payer organizations, new health strategies require an HIT backbone to spur change and create a foundation for success. That message… Full Story

Hello Health System: Meet the Newly Insured

In 2014, the health system will be introduced to the first of the 30 million newly insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With less than a year to prepare for the uninsured, many states are still discussing whether or not to expand Medicaid eligibility and who they want to run their exchanges. The rock band The Who once sang, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” but that tune won’t work this time. The ACA’s first wave of newly insured is different than those who already have coverage, according to an analysis by PwC’s Health Research Institute.… Full Story

Consumers Are Catalysts of Health System Innovation

After years of stagnant business innovation, health organizations are now being poked and prodded by consumers to innovate. The consumer cry for change is based on their experiences in other parts of the economy. They want access their medical information on mobile devices and they want to receive care at convenient locations and times. In response, new innovations are on the way from businesses eager to create a better customer experience. It is no secret that the health system has struggled in this arena. Consumers still experience paper medical records, inconsistent quality and inconvenient access points for care. The health… Full Story

Five Strategies to Build a Better AMC

Academic Medical Centers are big, expensive and complicated—in a world that is moving toward faster, cheaper, and better. All three of those factors could work against AMCs under new payment models soon to go into effect, according to a recent PwC Health Research Institute study. The study found that up to 10 percent of future AMC revenue could be at risk due to reimbursement changes, including those that favor quality over the quantity of care delivered. That the payment system is moving from volume to value is hardly a secret. Yet a recent study revealed that only 5 percent of… Full Story