The much maligned (and over-maligned) health maintenance organization (HMO) is making a comeback, under pressure from private and public payers to save money while seeking better medical outcomes, The New York Times reports.
The Times notes that “A defining feature of an HMO is the restriction placed over which doctor or hospital a patient can use, which was a primary reason so many floundered in the 1990s. Doctors and patients complained about their lack of choices. Critics also accused the plans of denying patients tests and procedures to save money, and many plans were seen as offering low-quality care.”
But, The Times reports: “Despite the stigma and many failed efforts, insurers say they are eager to push a revamped version that revives many of the same features that restrict choices as a way of lowering costs. Insurers are already promoting HMO’s on the state exchanges created under the federal health law, and many are trying to persuade more companies and their employees to sign up.”
Putting more patients into narrower provider networks is crucial to bringing America’s astronomical health care under contr0l.