HealthLeaders- InterStudy, the leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the Detroit healthcare market is banking on the strong potential for quality initiatives and cost-sharing as the automobile industry's cutbacks, layoffs and buyouts challenge health plans to hold onto market share. According to the latest Detroit Market Overview, health plans have introduced products for individuals and retirees as well as a products designed to replace COBRA benefits in an effort to remain competitive in the marketplace.
"As benefit-rich union contracts fade into memory, local health plans are looking to new product offerings and quality initiatives aimed at containing costs," states Margaret Dick, senior market analyst for HealthLeaders- InterStudy and author of the report.
The latest round of union contract negotiations is under way with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler looking to make cuts in their multibillion-dollar healthcare bills. Additional cost-sharing concessions are expected from unions in a compromise to protect jobs. With increased cost sharing, quality measures will be a significant tool in differentiating healthcare services.
In 2006, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (HAP) began marketing its first individual health plan product, SOLO, featuring premiums in the $40 range, and a variety of deductible and benefit options. HAP also created a health coverage continuation plan especially for salaried and hourly employees who lost their healthcare benefits in automobile industry buyouts. Designed as an alternative to federally mandated COBRA program, HAP's coverage may remain in force until the insured becomes eligible for Medicare. The plan includes routine care, prescription drug coverage and wellness programs, as well as monthly premiums, deductibles and copayments.
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