Risk pools are a powerful tool but they have been incorrectly within the healthcare system.
Risk Pools are a way for insurers to share the medical responsibility and financial risk with healthcare providers for managing a defined patient population. It rarely goes well.
Providers have a few big issues:
1. Insurers have premiums and investment vehicles to absorb risk pool loses. The risk pool is a limited amount of money with no means to increase the available funds. Providers end up rationing care.
2. Managing the risk pool is about predicting future medical events. The technology and methods providers use are getting better but still pretty limited.
3. The conversation between doctors and patients is changing. Patients are more informed of experimental therapies. Telling a patient NO when there is even a remote shot of something working would be tough for someone who is invested in the relationship.
Given that many insurers are becoming provider organization offering health coaching and preventative care, risk pools would be better used between the government and insurers as a way to incentivize them to keep people healthy.
The government is also better positioned to improve access by providing the Stop Loss insurance for patients with genetic issues.