The Supreme Court unanimously said today that states can force health plans to accept all providers who are willing to accept their payment rates and contract terms. A group of HMOs and an industry trade association had challenged Kentucky laws forcing HMOs to open their doctor networks, arguing that such laws can raise healthcare costs. Networks are more cost-effective because providers agree to lower rates in exchange for increased patient volume and lower administrative costs, HMO lawyers said. The Bush administration had asked the court to uphold the Kentucky laws. Donald Young, president of the Health Insurance Association of America, denounced the decision saying, "The requirement for health plans to open their provider networks will result in higher health insurance premiums and the real possibility of diminished quality of care." The court's opinion is available by clicking here -- by Tony Fong
Supreme Court upholds 'any willing provider' law
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