The Changing Face of Managed Care

January/February 2002
Health Affairs , Vol. 21, No. 1
Debra A. Draper, Robert E. Hurley, Cara S. Lesser, Bradley C. Strunk

anaged care plans—pressured by a variety of marketplace forces that have been intensifying over the past two years—are making important shifts in their overall business strategy. Plans are moving to offer less restrictive managed care products and product features that respond to consumers’ and purchasers’ demand for more choice and flexibility. In addition, because consumers and purchasers prefer broad and stable networks that require plans to include rather than exclude providers, plans are seeking less contentious contractual relationships with physicians and hospitals. Finally, to the extent that these changes erode their ability to control costs, plans are shifting from an emphasis only on increasing market share to a renewed emphasis on protecting profitability. Consequently, purchasers and consumers face escalating health care costs under these changing conditions.

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