UnitedHealth Group‘s UnitedHealthcare unit, America’s largest health insurer, will launch a nationally branded Accountable Care Organization as part of its push to value-based care aimed at luring self-funded employers.
UnitedHealthcare’s NexusACO will be available in 2017 in 15 markets to self-funded employers with 100 or more workers during this fall’s open enrollment period. The company said that NexusACO already has a dozen employers signed on, but it wouldn’t disclose names, Forbes reported.
“This (ACO) will have a much more national view with consistency across how the product is designed,” Jeff Alter, UnitedHealth’s CEO for employer and individual coverage, told Forbes. “It’s sold as a product that happens to have a unique network attached to it.”
The NexusACO has a national network of UnitedHealthcare’s “tier1” physicians who, UnitedHealth says, are already meeting the insurer’s quality and efficiency measures.
UnitedHealthcare said NexusACO is different from regional ACOs, which generally have contracts with providers only in certain markets. UnitedHealthcare, for example, already has contracts with more than 800 ACOs across America — double what it had two years ago.
Forbes noted that UnitedHealthcare’s rivals are also expanding arrangements with ACOs. Aetna, for example, has increased its ACO agreements to 275 since 2011, and that figure is expected to grow even more in the next year as the company shifts 50 percent of what it pays providers from fee-for-service to value-based arrangements.
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