Rising Healthcare Costs, and the Introduction of Accountable Care Organizations

January 27, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Doctors, Employer Sponsored Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists

Rising Healthcare costs, and the Introduction of Accountable Care Organizations

By Ashley Ahle
January 27, 2011

While most of the buzz around Health Care Reform seems to be about keeping costs down by holding insurance companies accountable for rising premiums, there is one area that, more often than not, is overlooked by many. Who is holding Doctors and Hospitals accountable for their rising costs?

One part of the Health Care law that is not too often talked about, is the inclusion of Accountable Care Organizations. In the law, ACO’s take up only seven pages. What are ACO’s you may ask? It’s basically a new model of incentives for hospitals and doctors who provide quality care while also keeping costs down.

When basic procedures are done, instead of the doctor recommending many more unexplained tests and visits they merely do it right the first time therefore cutting costs. If they succeed in treating patients while cutting costs, there are incentives, such as savings bonuses available. Other benefits of ACO’s are the melding of all parts of care for patients. Currently one patient can have many specialists providing treatment, without working with each-other. ACO’s would bring all of these components together so that patients have easy access to quality care.

Now, this may sound similar to HMO’s, however with ACO’s the patient may not even know they are in an ACO. Also, the patient still has the freedom to choose who treats them. Conversely, with HMO’s patients are penalized for going out of network.

Accountable Care Organizations come with their own downfalls. Many people worry that the rush to be a part of and ACO will have a huge effect on market share, and give the hospitals too much leverage, therefore back lashing and actually driving health costs up. Also in more rural areas the fear is that independent providers will disappear completely, stifling all competition.

Like it’s all encompassing partner, Health Reform, Accountable Care Organizations still need to be tweaked. They have yet to decide who will run them, insurance companies, hospitals or doctors. There is growing enthusiasm for ACO’s and once the finer points are ironed out, we could potentially see great savings.

0 responses to Rising Healthcare Costs, and the Introduction of Accountable Care Organizations

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

1 trackback

Skip to toolbar