Consultants say an emerging type of plan that one-ups the point-of-service option could be the wave of the future. The idea rolls a preferred-provider organization, HMO and POS plan into one. Members choose how to use benefits in exchange for differing out-of-pocket expenses. In Texas, Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Harris Methodist Health Plan are reportedly studying variations of this.
In Southern California, Permanente Medical Group and Hospitalists Inc. signed a pact that Kaiser Permanente hopes will control the cost of care for members who seek emergency treatment at non-Kaiser hospitals. Kaiser patients will be evaluated by the attending ER physician and a Hospitalists Inc. doctor about whether to treat and release, admit the patient to the non-Kaiser hospital or stabilize and transport the person to a Kaiser facility.