HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that the three largest health plans serving the Raleigh region have posted positive earnings in recent years, despite a long-term decline in HMO enrollment. According to the latest issue of the Raleigh Market Overview, employers have migrated from HMOs to PPOs but are now looking at other insurance options that may hold down health benefit costs.

"The Raleigh area has the advantage of a booming economy and a population with a high average level of education, which encourages interested and informed healthcare consumers," said Patrick Powers, HealthLeaders-InterStudy senior analyst. "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, CIGNA HealthCare of North Carolina, and UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina are all highly profitable -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield so much so that its quarterly reports lead with how successful it has been at lowering profit margins, in an attempt to head off negative publicity."

HMOs have never been popular in the area, and now hold barely 12 percent of the market share, but all three of the plans have seen members move increasingly away from fully insured PPOs into self-insured plans as employers try to hold down overall health benefit costs. Consumer-directed plans, while enjoying a lot of publicity, represent only about 1 percent of those covered by employer-sponsored health plans.

  Other news about the Raleigh healthcare market:   * The area's major health systems, Duke University Health System, UNC     Health Care and WakeMed Health & Hospitals, are all seeking state     approval to expand services and facilities in fast-growing Wake County.   * More than 40 self-insured employers in the Raleigh area will continue     sharing cost and quality information about the market's healthcare     providers, creating a bank of purchasing-decision intelligence not     available in most markets.    About Market Overviews 

Market Overviews provides a detailed analysis of local healthcare markets, allowing healthcare businesses to plan their local strategies.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a company of Decision Resources, Inc. (http://www.decisionresources.com/), is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis, and news. For more information, please visit http://www.healthleaders-interstudy.com/.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

  For more information, contact:    Alex Jablokow    Decision Resources    781-296-2562    ajablokow@dresources.com 

SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Alex Jablokow of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2562,
ajablokow@dresources.com

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