The Group Health Association of America and the American Managed Care and Review Association, groups representing most of the nation's HMOs and other managed-care plans, are discussing a merger.
A union of the two groups would create "a stronger, more unified voice" for managed care at the federal and state levels, said a GHAA official who asked not to be identified.
The groups have been discussing a possible merger for some time. Recently the talks reached the full-board level and have been "very productive," the official said.
The GHAA and the AMCRA discussed merging a decade ago, "but the timing wasn't right," the official said. "Now there's an increasing desire to be able to speak with one voice, and I think that's really the impetus" behind the merger talks, she said.
The GHAA has 380 HMO members that care for 80% of all HMO enrollees, or 40 million people. The AMCRA represents more than 700 managed-care organizations serving about 75 million enrollees. They include HMOs, PPOs, IPAs, utilization-review organizations and physician-hospital organizations.