News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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McKinsey Study Confirms Trend Toward Narrow Healthcare Networks on Health Insurance Exchanges; Smaller Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups Often Excluded

Ongoing shift to narrow provider networks excludes many medical laboratories, thus causing them to lose access to patients served by these networks

If there is any single trend that has worked against the clinical and financial interests of community clinical laboratories and hospital/health system lab outreach programs, it is the trend of narrow networks. When medical laboratories and other providers find themselves excluded from a payer’s provider network, they lose access to the patients served by that network.

Thus, it won’t be good news that a major consulting company has confirmed that the trend of narrow payer networks is intensifying. The study was conducted by healthcare consulting firm McKinsey and Company.

McKinsey concluded that insurers participating in the government’s Healthcare Exchanges continue to move toward narrow networks of healthcare providers. This trend often leaves smaller clinical laboratories, hospital lab outreach programs, and anatomic pathology groups on the sidelines as insurers attempt to reduce costs. (more…)

McKinsey Reports That Consumers Will Find Fewer Options under the ACA in 2017 while Fewer Health Plans Means Less Access for Clinical Laboratories

Local medical labs and pathology groups are often excluded from narrow networks. Thus, another round of “network provider reduction” is a serious issue

Total enrollment in health insurance products may be increasing, but in its recently-issued study, McKinsey and Company determined that the Health Insurance Marketplace (Health Exchange) is shrinking even as the number of enrollees continues to rise.

The development is unfavorable to the nation’s clinical laboratories and pathology groups because fewer health plans on the exchange means less access to patients. It also means that the remaining health insurers are taking steps to further narrow their existing networks in order to curb expenses by limiting options.

The new report published by McKinsey and Company reveals that insurers are moving towards plans that offer fewer options for consumers, mostly due to losses suffered on the health exchanges. The report, titled, “2017 Exchange Market: Plan Type Trends,” states that in 2017 a majority of the healthcare plans (about 75%) available to consumers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and other similar limited-option plans, such as Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs).

EPOs are a hybrid of HMOs and PPOs and share some common options from both. Of the states investigated, McKinsey found that about 15% of customers eligible for ACA exchanges will have no PPOs available to them. (more…)

Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups May See Fewer Fee-For-Service Payments as More Hospitals and Health Systems Become Self-Insured

As national health insurers push more risk to hospital systems and medical groups, many hospital administrators become more interested in establishing their own health insurance companies

New modes of provider reimbursement—such as bundled payments and budgeted payments—are motivating hospitals and health systems to reconsider their existing relationships with health insurers. Hospital administrators want to control the dollars they save by improving patient care, instead of allowing insurance companies to capture that money.

To accomplish these goals, more and more hospitals and health systems across the country are making one of three moves:

• Funding their own health plans;
• Partnering with health insurance companies; or,
• Buying health insurance companies.

As this trend gathers momentum, it will put the medical laboratories of hospitals in a much better position to regain access to patients. It can be expected that hospital administrators will include their own clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology providers in their own health insurance provider networks. (more…)