Who uses out-of-network providers?

According to a recent paper by Kyanko, Curry and Busch (2003), 8 percent of insured individuals used an out-of-network physician. Why are people using out-of-network services? The authors give the following breakdown. Approximately 40 percent of individuals using out-of-network physicians experienced involuntary out-of-network care. Whereas fifteen percent of outpatient out-of-network contacts were involuntary, almost 60…

California: Mandatory Enrollment of Seniors and the Disabled into Managed Care

In 2010, CMS approved California’s “Bridge to Reform” waiver request that authorized the state to expand its mandatory managed care to seniors and people with disabilities covered by Medi-Cal.  Authorized under a Section 1115 waiver, the policy affected nearly 400,000 Medi-Cal enrollees, including 240,000 who were moved from fee-for-service into managed care between June 2011…

The Start of Rationing in Medicare?

Prior authorization is a common tool that managed care organizations use to reduce patient utilization of medical services.  Some physicians believe that prior authorization creates barriers to effective care, but other commentators believe that prior authorizations can be implemented in a more efficient manner.  Either way, prior authorizations are a form of rationing care. Although…

Early Medical Cooperatives

In the days before health reform’s pasage, many reform proponents argued for the advent of co-operative healthcare systems or “co-ops”.  Co-ops, however, have been around for a long time before that. “In the late forties, over a hundred small rural health cooperatives were founded.  Nearly all of these were in the Southwest, fifty in Texas…

Does California really love Managed Care?

In short, yes. California is the land of managed care. Kaiser-Permanente–the managed care poster child–owns one third of the market.  Love for managed care is not just in the private market; in 2010, over half of all Medi-Cal and more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in managed care plans.  Further, California managed care…

Medicare Managed Care vs. FFS Beneficiaries: Who receives better care?

Do Medicare beneficiaries in fee-for-service plans access better physicians than those in Medicare Managed Care (MMC) plans?  Huesch (2010) attempts to answer this question for beneficiary access to quality cardiologists.  Using data on heart patients without AMI in Florida, the authors observes the following results: “No evidence was found that Medicare payor type significantly influenced…