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Despite a recent resurgence of fee-for-service contracts, capitation rates in nearly all categories and specialties are on the rise, finds a study by the Manasquan, NJ-based Managed Care Information Center. "Rates are up to the point that physicians and other providers are finally seeing recent premium increases passed along in their cap contracts," notes David Schwartz, who conducted the survey. "As poorly performing medical groups have dropped out of this market, better performers with the higher rates are pushing the overall average up," says Schwartz.
Overall, the center found that nearly 70% of respondents report that their rates have increased this year, with increases in double digits for many specialties. As to reports that there is a mass exodus of groups from capitation, the study found 78% of respondents are either seeking more capitation or maintaining their current level of risk agreements. "Risk contracting is as much a part of most providers’ lives as it ever was, and capitation appears to be poised for at least moderate growth in the coming two to three years," Schwartz says. In fact, "if employers continue to see the kind of premium increases they’ve seen this year, capitation may make a very big comeback as cost control becomes top priority again."