Sacramento Bee Looks at Shift Away From Employer-Sponsored HMO Plans
The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday examined the rising cost of health care in California, which is causing "a whirlwind shift away from health-maintenance organizations toward other kinds of insurance that offer fewer benefits at a lower price."
According to the Bee, employers "are tired" of rising health insurance premiums and are shifting "more of the cost and risk of getting sick" to workers. Although there is "no consensus on the ultimate impact of this rapid change," the trend away from managed care likely will have a more "profound impact in California, which historically has had more HMOs than other states," the Bee reports.
Eight out of 10 employers in the state currently offer preferred-provider organizations -- which allow insurers to change coverage and how they charge for it -- compared with less than half of employers in 1996, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Meanwhile, four out of 10 employers offer HMO coverage, compared to six out of 10 employers in 1996, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Employers and insurance companies say the trend will cause consumers to make more cost-effective choices about their health care. However, consumer advocates say the cost shifting will lead to an increase in personal bankruptcies (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 11/9).