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HMO woes – Americans critique managed care

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Industry efforts to make the managed care industry more consumer-friendly may have done little to improve HMO’s, the Los Angeles Times reported on June 12.

Nearly half of Americans report some type of problem with their health plan, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found, and a significant number of people say those problems are creating serious medical and financial woes.

About 21 percent of people who reported problems said their health declined as a result, the survey found.

And six percent – about four million Americans – said HMO problems have led to long-lasting disability.

Either due to personal experience or negative publicity, Americans believe that HMO’s have an economic interest in denying necessary services. The survey also found the sickest patients still have trouble getting health care in the managed care industry.

Kaiser Foundation executive Larry Levitt said the survey may reflect a heightened awareness of health care issues. ” Managed care is dinner-table conversation, whereas it wasn’t a few years ago,” he said.

The Kaiser study surveyed 2,500 U.S. adults under 64 with various types of health insurance

For the full text of the article, go to the Los Angeles Times.

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