Population-based healthcare follows an integrated and regional approach instead of focusing on single individuals and marks a new way of how healthcare is organized and provided. Although promoted by policy-makers, up to date these models are rather an exception than the norm. Still, there are some successful examples. This paper focuses on population-based integrated care programmes in Germany and draws its conclusions on a case study within the German healthcare system. Applying the concept of social innovation, we discuss the potential benefits but also limitations of population-based healthcare and explain why these approaches have not been able to achieve the impact that many stakeholders expected.