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Members want choice

Open-panel HMOs remain wildly popular, as evidenced by new figures from InterStudy Publications, which tracks HMO industry trends. Membership in open-panel HMOs climbed 34.6 percent during the 12 months ending July 1, 1997, while enrollment in traditional HMOs increased 11.6 percent. For both flavors of HMO, network- and mixed-model plans are enjoying the highest rates of increase.

That preference for choice is echoed by findings by the Medstat Group, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based consulting firm, and J.D. Power and Associates, which recently rated health plans on the basis of consumer satisfaction. Of the 81,000 enrollees surveyed in 20 markets, 17.1 percent put choice of provider at the top of their checkoff list for satisfaction. Personal cost (7.0 percent) was the seventh-most important factor driving member satisfaction.

SOURCES: HMO INDUSTRY REPORT 8.1, INTERSTUDY PUBLICATIONS, ST. PAUL. MINN., 1998; QUALITY CATALYST, THE MEDSTAT GROUP, ANN ARBOR, MICH., 1998

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