Are for-profit HMOs winning the day?

Though not-for-profit health plans are still being launched, they’ve been far outnumbered in recent years by the new for-profit plans that have entered the market. That conclusion is suggested by Managed Care’s cover article this month, and it is also borne out by figures tabulated from a leading HMO directory. Note bulges in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s in the chart below, representing periods of rapid for-profit HMO formation. Another way to understand the trend toward for-profits is to look at the median ages of both kinds of HMOs: Median age for the 420 for-profit HMOs included here is 9.1 years; the comparable figure for the 170 nonprofits is 13.3 years.

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