Magazine article Drug Topics

HMO Enrollment Growing by Leaps and by Bounds

Magazine article Drug Topics

HMO Enrollment Growing by Leaps and by Bounds

Article excerpt

Enrollment in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) dramatically increased between July 1, 1994, and July 1, 1995, according to a new report from InterStudy, an independent research group based in Minneapolis. InterStudy found that 7.7 million people joined HMOs during that time period, bringing the grand total of HMO members to 54 million individuals. This is the largest 12-month gain that InterStudy has recorded in the 17 years it has been surveying and reporting on the industry.

While traditional HMOs experienced the largest growth in total enrollment, with an additional 4.9 million members joining, plans that offer openended provider panels experienced the fastest growth, with 1.8 million new members-an annual growth rate of 56%.

There were six health plans, most of them based in the Middle Atlantic region, that were responsible for the major portion of enrollment growth. They are: Oxford Health Plans (New York); Keystone Health Plan East (Philadelphia); HMOBlue (New Jersey); HMOBlue (Boston); CIGNA HealthCare of California (Los Angeles); and Oxford Health Plans (New Jersey).

InterStudy also found that the number of health plans rose by 46-to 593--during that period. According to the research group, Independent Physician Association-based (IPA) plans experienced a rapid expansion of physician networks, while the number of hospital contracts remained stable. IPA-based HMOs experienced an 18% increase in the number of contracts with primary care physicians, and group-based HMOs experienced an increase of 23%. …

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