U.S. health insurer
) has agreed to form an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) with
WellSpan Health. This is in sync with the company's effort to
improve safety and quality of patient care and a move to make
health care more affordable.
An ACO is a collaboration of health care providers, who
voluntarily form alliances to provide coordinated high quality
care to patients. An ACO is accountable for the quality, cost,
and overall care offered to members. By focusing on the needs of
patients and linking payments to outcomes, the model intends to
improve the health of individuals and communities and curb rising
health care costs.
Via this ACO Aetna aims to provide a more synchronized,
personalized experience for patients; lower co-pays and improve
health care outcomes. It is Aetna's first ACO agreement in Penn.
With this ACO agreement in place Aetna wishes to introduce
both fully insured and self-insured health plans in Central
Pennsylvania. A fully insured product will be available on April
ACOs or collaborative accountable care is one of the several
ways by which President Obama is making efforts to improve the
quality of health of all Americans. It is viewed as a tool that
would deliver seamless, high quality care for the overall
The Health Care Reform called for such an arrangement in order
to trim unnecessary expenses due to a lack of coordination
between multiple physicians and other providers. Most Americans
with multiple chronic conditions receive care from multiple
physicians and it has been observed that a few of them receive
A large percentage of the sick population also ended up being
victims of medical errors and faced hospital readmissions within
days of their discharge. Thus, ACOs were formed to reduce the
exorbitant amounts spent due to lack of managed care.
Other health insurers like
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
) are also aggressively forming ACOs. Going forward, we expect
such patient-centered collaborations to grow rapidly.
Aetna currently retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Another health
care provider under our coverage,
), is also similarly placed with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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