An official of the Group Health Association of America has confirmed that a merger between GHAA and the American Managed Care and Review Association may be imminent.
Now that the widespread success of managed care has spurred numerous initiatives that can be viewed as a "backlash" to the spread of managed care, the timing seems to be right for a GHAA-AMCRA merger. A union of the two groups was discussed as long as a decade ago.
"Plans are on track to have a vote of both memberships (on a merger) in the fall or winter," said Susan Pisano, GHAA vice president.
The groups represent most of the nation's HMOs and other managed-care plans.
Officials of the two groups believe that a merger would create a stronger and more unified voice for managed care at the federal and state levels.
In an interview late last month, GHAA Board Chairman George Halvorson, president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners in Minneapolis, told MODERN HEALTHCARE that the boards of GHAA and AMCRA have repeatedly voted to continue merger discussions.
But Halvorson called a published report that GHAA President Karen Ignani would serve as president of the merged associations "premature." The GHAA has 380 HMO members that care for 80% of all HMO enrollees, or 40 million people. AMCRA represents more than 700 managed-care organizations serving about 75 million enrollees, including HMOs, PPOs, IPAs, utilization-review organizations and physician-hospital organizations.