The Comeback Isn't Complete: HMOs Still Shaky


The Hay Group's annual benefits report found that health insurance premiums rose 5.2 percent in 1999, but not necessarily because insurers were trying to boost their bottom lines. Rather, the consulting firm attributes most of that rise to the soaring cost of prescription drugs — up 15 percent, by Hay's estimate.

Though the year began with promise that the managed care industry would use higher premiums to rebound from poor performances in 1997 and '98, several large HMOs are still looking for the turning point.

In New England, Harvard Pilgrim lost $49 million in the first six months of the year, and CEO Charles Baker has embarked on a smaller-is-better strategy that reportedly includes laying off hundreds of workers and shedding its business in Rhode Island, on top of forthcoming 12- to 15-percent rate hikes.

Despite a 10-percent boost in premium revenues, Minnesota HMOs collectively lost $9.6 million last year, according to consultant Allan Baumgarten's Minnesota Managed Care Review. Another Baumgarten study found that Illinois HMOs lost $71 million on lower revenues and higher medical costs. And in Texas, state statistics show that HMOs lost $34 million in the second quarter — among them, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, which is buying the perpetually profitable NYLCare units that Aetna U.S. Healthcare is spinning off in Dallas and Houston.

Career Opportunities

HAP, a subsidiary of Henry Ford Health System, is a nonprofit health plan providing coverage to individuals, companies and organizations. This executive develops strategies to meet membership and revenue targets through products, pricing, market segmentation and advertising.  Aligns business among Business Development, Commercial Sales, Medicare and Public Sector Programs and Product Development. Seeks to enhance and be responsible for business development and expansion through the development of an effective product portfolio, strong interpersonal relationships and service excellence.

Apply via email to jfedder1@hfhs.org or online at http://p.rfer.us/HENRYFORDlXqAJA

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