Anthem Blue Cross Introduces First Plans Using New Accountable Care Organization Network
Anthem Blue Cross announced new plans that will utilize the Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) that they have introduced in Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and San Diego California. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) were created by health care reform as a method of controlling health care costs better. In an ACO, all patient medical records are coordinated and accessible to all the medical professionals involved in the care of the patient. This way overlaps in care can be prevented, and duplicate tests and unneeded care can be eliminated to save costs and improve the health care and health maintenance for the patient.
These new plans are available for small businesses in the 3 areas listed above. The plans provide the flexibility of a PPO with the cost and care advantages of an HMO.
Within the ACO structure, a member receives all health care through a combination of providers that work within the ACO. Medical records are shared between physicians caring for the patient, many times the sharing is via electronic records instead of paper. This makes it easy for any physician in the ACO to know what medications or treatments the patient is receiving.
Other insurance companies are working on creating their own ACOs, so we expect these new care structures to become more common place in the next several years. Check back regularly to get more updates and these changes.