On average, seniors who enroll in Medicare HMOs are healthier than those remaining in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a report released last week by the General Accounting Office.
The report was requested earlier this year by Rep. William Thomas (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.
The GAO also found seniors with chronic and therefore expensive conditions are more likely to leave an HMO and return to the fee-for-service program within six months.
The American Association of Health Plans disagreed with the report's findings. Earlier this year, the group released its own study that found little difference in the health status of seniors in HMOs and in the fee-for-service program.