Aetna, Cigna, Blues unveil new ACOs

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Several health insurers made moves this week to launch accountable care organizations (ACOs), further demonstrating the industry's hope that ACOs can help defray rising costs.

Aetna is collaborating with New Jersey's Hunterdon Medical Center and its 225 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists in an ACO to enhance care coordination and revamp payment models. Aetna is leveraging its health IT capabilities to help identify missed preventative-care opportunities and close gaps in care, NJBiz reported.

Under the ACO agreement, Aetna will reimburse Hunterdon doctors based on their ability to align payment with patient outcomes, including how many members receive preventive care, whether patients improve chronic conditions and reductions in hospital readmission rates.

Meanwhile, Cigna is joining forces with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to create the payer's first ACO in California. Like its existing ACOs, Cigna will employ a clinical care coordinator to help patients with chronic conditions navigate the health system. Cigna's ACO also will emphasize preventive and primary care while rewarding doctors for achieving certain health outcomes, reported the San Francisco Business Times.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) also announced this week that it's forming an ACO with Wilmington Health to improve efficiency, quality of care and health outcomes. BCBSNC's ACO will focus on providing preventive healthcare, managing chronic diseases and reducing avoidable hospital admissions, according to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

To learn more:
- read the NJBiz article
- see the San Francisco Business Times article
- check out the Greater Wilmington Business Journal article

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