September 27, 2011
In a survey, researchers at consulting firm Aon Hewitt found that many employers are thinking about implementing accountable care organization (ACO) models of insurance, in an effort to implement a values-based system of health benefits.
The study included 674 companies in the U.S., and about 28 percent of employers reported a strong interest in ACOs, while another 37 percent said they were somewhat likely to adopt the model. Conversely, a total of 11 percent expressed disinterest, and 24 percent were unsure.
If ACO providers can prove that their system provides a better quality of care for individuals, their popularity may spike, since 82 percent of employers said this was the most important aspect when evaluating a benefits model.
Aon Hewitt officials said that ACOs have a multi-faceted approach to healthcare, coordinating physicians and facilities to provide tailored care.
“ACOs reduce cost by providing plan participants the right care at the right time. By improving access to primary care, plan participants can avoid emergency room visits, which results in a financial reward for the ACO and shared savings with the sponsoring organization or organizations,” said Michael Cryer, M.D., and national medical director with Aon Hewitt.