In a strategic move aimed at retaining and recruiting top physicians, Cigna HealthCare of Colorado has dumped capitation. In late February, the insurer began paying most of its physicians in the state on a discounted fee-for-service basis. The move came after Cigna talked with its physicians and found that most didn’t like practicing under capitation.
Colorado is a high-octane market with several health plans vying for members. Cigna, whose 270,000 Colorado enrollees make it the sixth-largest health insurer in the state, hopes its game plan may give it a competitive edge over some rivals that continue to capitate primary care physicians. Its closest competitor, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, has no plans to move away from capitating primary care physicians.
Cigna says its move away from capitation is not a return to the fee-for-service days of overutilization; rather, it will monitor utilization closely to keep costs in check.
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