Consumer cost sharing is widely employed by payers in the United States in an effort to control spending. Most cost-sharing strategies set patient contributions on the basis of costs incurred by payers and often do not consider medical necessity as a coverage criterion. Available evidence suggests that increases in cost sharing worsen health disparities and adversely affect patient-centered outcomes, particularly among economically vulnerable individuals, people of color, and those with chronic conditions. A key question has been how to better engage consumers while balancing appropriate access to essential services with increasing fiscal pressures. Value-based insurance design (VBID) is a promising approach designed to improve desired clinical and financial outcomes, in which out-of-pocket costs are based on the potential for clinical benefit, taking into consideration the patient's clinical condition. For more than two decades, broad multistakeholder support and multiple federal policy initiatives have led to the implementation of VBID programs that enhance access to vital preventive and chronic disease medications for millions of Americans. A robust evidence base shows that when financial barriers to essential medications are reduced, increased adherence results, leading to improved patient-centered outcomes, reduced health care disparities, and in some (but not most) instances, lower total medical expenditures.

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