Employers May Find Savings From ACOs, Journal Reports

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The accountable care organization, or ACO, can be a mechanism for employers to achieve healthcare savings, according to a just-published article in The American Journal of Accountable Care, the publication of The American Journal of Managed Care dedicated to healthcare reform.

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — Employers seeking ways to get better quality and value for their healthcare dollar are gaining interest in accountable care organizations, or ACO, according to a new article published this month in The American Journal of Accountable Care. For the full article, click here.

Authors Suzanne F. Delbanco, PhD, and David Lansky, PhD, write that ACOs, which are vehicles for improving population health, have the potential to allow some employers to participate in the shared savings available to payers and providers, under certain conditions. But not every healthcare provider is ready for such an arrangement, which the authors write, “requires committing to population health improvement targets and to assuming financial risk. And not all employers and other healthcare purchasers are ready either.”

Delbanco and Landy proposed a “glidepath” that employers can use to ease the transition into such an arrangement, which allows for both greater risk and greater financial reward. Under this model, health plans and/or employers continue to pay the ACO on a fee-for-service basis to fund the shared savings arrangement, with the potential for additional membership volume to eventually offset the fee reduction. The ACO must achieve a preset savings target before any savings are distributed.


The ACO, meanwhile, should be able to share up to predetermined share of the savings above a minimum rate if quality targets are achieved.

The American Journal of Accountable Care is a title of The American Journal of Managed Care devoted to research and commentary on healthcare reform, particularly regarding the transition away from fee-for-service models.

About the Journal

The American Journal of Managed Care, now in its 20th year of publication, is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. Other titles in the AJMC family of publications are The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care. In December 2013, AJMC introduced The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary devoted to understanding changes to the healthcare system due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s news publications, the Evidence-Based series, bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in the areas of oncology, diabetes management, and immunology and infectious disease. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

CONTACT: Mary Caffrey (609) 716-7777 x 144