The health care industry in the United States is very diverse and dynamic. The continued growth of managed health care is influenced by the economy, the need, and the regulatory regulations set forth on the industry. If one of these forces changes, it can affect the entire group; this causes the managed health care industry to be at the mercy of its roots and the industry’s need for it. What started out as a simple idea has turned into a complex and ever growing industry that is necessary for the health care industry to stay afloat in the world today. The health care system is ever changing and it appears that change is the only constant in the managed care organizations. Despite the constant changes in managed health care and the blurring of types of health care plans, it is important to understand exactly what a particular plan includes. Without this knowledge the managed health care users, may find themselves in a binding situation when they try to use their insurance at certain hospital and other health care organizations.
Health maintenance organizations or HMO’s continue to penetrate the market in most market areas in most states. These health maintenance organizations continue to offer an array of different plans with features that vary in their ability to balance cost, access of care, flexibility in health care, and their design of benefits (Kongstvedt, 2001).
During the last two decades, managed care had gone from a relatively small part of the health care system to being the mainstream manner in which any employer-insured person obtains their health care. It is hard to pin point an exact definition of managed health care and it is nearly impossible to explain the exact benefits its users will reap, because this type of health care is ever changing, with features from one plan appearing in a different plan and new options being created each day. If the health care market place continues to consolidate, the defined line of managed health care continues to be blurred. As the health care market demands change, so does the managed health care plans. These ever changing plans are crucial for the survival of managed health care plans and companies (Kongstvedt, 2001).
Change is inevitable when it is a faltering system; such as health care and insurance, which means in the health care industry there is nothing constant in the contemporary managed care systems. When speaking of managed health care, some find it to be an institution set forth as a response to the consistently rising health care costs, that some viewed as detrimental to the United States economy as a whole. Others viewed managed care as a documented response to health care quality problems that have long been ignored. That the problems managed health care would specifically help rectify patterns of over and underuse, misuse, and any geographic variation in the medical services provided to citizens (Kongstvedt, 2001). Both of these ideals had a hand in the wide spread...