A significant medical home pilot program has begun in the Phoenix and Tucson areas in which UnitedHealthcare is offering additional payments for primary-care providers involved in the treatment of patients with diabetes and hypertension. Diabetes is getting attention in a pay-for-performance program begun in Arizona through the Bridges to Excellence program and sponsored by Aetna – the program also focuses on cardiac care. The exit of LifeWise Health Plan of Arizona, which is a subsidiary of Washington-based Premera Blue Cross, will add more bulk to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, which is absorbing some of the small-group and individual membership from the much-smaller company. In a tough economy, the college market is one of the places that insurers are looking to find growth with Aetna putting a lot of focus on health plans geared to young adults. Seniors in Arizona are increasingly shifting to Medicare Advantage plan designs away from stand-alone PDPs as the MA plans tend to have richer drug benefits in the doughnut hole. Finally, Arizona’s fledgling electronic prescribing movement is picking up steam with the availability of federal stimulus monies and incentives from the federal government to use e-prescribing for Medicare patients.

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