UnitedHealthcare has announced that it will contract with up to 250 new accountable care organizations (ACO) in 2015, adding to its existing total of 520 such programs.
The payer says it now covers more than 11 million beneficiaries with value-based care. UnitedHealthcare’s total payments to physicians and hospitals that are tied to value-based arrangements have nearly tripled in the last three years to $36 billion. Those payments are expected to increase 20 percent to $43 billion in 2015 and hit $65 billion by the end of 2018, officials said in an announcement.
Officials from UnitedHealthcare say they are seeing greater consistency in the delivery of quality care among its existing ACOs. Results to date include:
• Medicaid members have shown a 21 percent increase in primary care visits and a 14 percent decrease in readmissions within 30 days of leaving the hospital;
• individual and employer-sponsored plan participants experienced an 11 percent reduction in hospital admissions and an eight percent reduction in emergency room admissions.
“UnitedHealthcare is building more collaborative relationships with more care providers to ensure our plan participants have access to higher-quality, cost-effective care,” Dan Rosenthal, president, UnitedHealthcare Networks, said in a statement. “Working with care providers to ensure they have the right support and incentives will help connect the people we serve to the most effective care, place a greater focus on the quality of their care, and compensate providers for improving patients’ health.”