The establishment of managed care has become a significant event in the long-term evolution of the healthcare system in the USA. It goes without saying that the value of this event is enormous, as it has influenced the efficiency of the system and set new directions of its development. Managed care implies the system of providing qualified healthcare at a reasonable price. It comprises the techniques aimed at reducing the cost of healthcare benefits in the conditions of constant improving the quality of the system, and the system itself, which enables people to get comprehensive health services with the help of managed care organizations, which regulate and manage the process. Thus, initial purpose of managed care is to reduce health expenditure of the country by means of limitation individual spending on healthcare (Managed care: Low cost health care for people, 2013).
Nowadays, there are various managed care programs and they differ from one another in some unique features, processes, and restrictions. Scholars differentiate three types of them: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and Point-of-Service (POS) plans. Anyway, all of them pursue common goals. The high priority for managed care organizations remains providing healthcare services at the highest levels for moderate or even reduced price. Other goals are to ensure the adequacy of the healthcare, and to enable every patient to acquire the services which he/she needs due to his/her medical conditions (Managed care: Low cost health care for people, 2013). Furthermore, these organizations have to ascertain that the services are maintained by good providers. Finally, they are also aimed for avoiding possible restrictions during the process of healthcare and creating favorable atmosphere between patients and providers.
The implementation of managed care preceded a long process of healthcare system evolving. The origins of managed care were traced to 1890s the time when physicians offered, at first, prepaid medical services to unions, lodges, brotherhoods etc. The practice of supplying the members with social benefits had already been familiar to these organizations, thus they managed to benefit from paying for medical care in advance. Besides, it was very useful for the members of the organizations, as the services, which they could not afford individually, became available due to collective payments. At the beginning of the 20th century, paying monthly fee for health care became a standard practice. The popularity of managed care started to grow since 1990s. In 1997, it was reported in Business Health Magazine that 82 percent of healthcare programs were characterized as managed care, and only 18 percent as conventional healthcare practice (Conklin, 2002). Moreover, many healthcare plans for employees were changed into managed care plans. Many other health insurance programs were also coved by managed care as well. For example, Medicaid and Medicare started to operate under the auspices of managed care programs and, as practice shows, it has become a rather successful cooperation (Conklin, 2002).
Managed care brought significant changes which reflected on many spheres of healthcare system. Firstly, it reorganized the way of doing business in healthcare. By effective using of preventive care, managed care organizations optimized the investigation of possible diseases among patients. They shortened the usage of unnecessary and expensive services. These organizations standardized and took control over the quality of services offered by conventional providers. Secondly, managed care surpassed the indemnity insurance in many ways. Managed care, in contrast to indemnity insurance, made healthcare providers share the financial risks with the members of healthcare plans and programs. Furthermore, the organizations of managed care arranged better interaction between healthcare providers, contributed to the integration of administrative claims and the launching of new preventive programs (Navarro Cahill, 2009).
From my perspective, the advantages of managed care are obvious and healthcare system of the USA benefits from them a lot. Managed care organizations provide qualified care in a cost-efficient way. Therefore, they have got many approving responses from the patients. Besides, many organizations which provide managed care plans for their employees find such a practice very profitable. Furthermore, in managed care system the financial risk is reduced by means of sharing it among the participants of care process. All on all, I reckon that managed care has already proved to be an efficient gear within the US healthcare system.