Insurance Companies In The Exam Room

I have written in the past about the soaring cost of health care in this country.  Everyone recognizes that the current state of affairs is unsustainable.  Something must change.  Now some of the largest health insurers are moving to control the cost of the health care for which they pay while at the same time protecting their profits.

UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest health insurers in the United States, has been quietly buying up doctors groups.  The doctors in these groups become the employees of UnitedHealth after the purchase.  While the doctor will still bill you for what he or she does (“fee for service”), the insurance company will be encouraging the doctor not to order too much or do too much.  So long as this doesn’t result in patients failing to get treatment they need, this will be a good thing.  However, because there is a potential for abuse arising from the differing interests of the patients and the insurance company, this development bears watching.  It is surely only one of many changes we will see going forward as those with an interest in health care.

Here is a link to a story about the development:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/insurers-quietly-gaining-control-of-doctors-covered-by-companies-plans/2011/06/29/AG5DNftH_story.html?hpid=z2

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