Telehealth, also called telemedicine, allows you to receive health care without an in-person visit to a provider by using computer, tablet or smartphone.
Telehealth technically started in the 1940s in Pennsylvania when providers realized they could send radiology images over the phone lines between two townships. In the 1950s, a Canadian doctor expanded on the concept and constructed a teleradiology system that was used in and around Montreal. And in 1967, the University of Miami School of Medicine partnered with a local fire department to transmit electrocardiographic rhythms over radio to Jackson Memorial Hospital in rescue situations.
Although Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) have been a popular group health benefit plan feature since their introduction in the 1980s, their shine is starting to fade.
PPOs are supposed to be a great way to lower health care costs. Providers agree to a discounted rate in exchange for insurers steering members to their services. The problem is that retail prices charged by hospitals and physicians continue to rise steeply.
The Trouble With PPOs
Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) date back to 1980 when the first PPO was organized to provide contracted rate medical care to a health plan. For providing “steerage” toward the medical providers in the PPO network, the providers granted discounted rates for their services to the health plan.
Over the years, PPOs have changed and morphed into multiple variations, but the end result is the same – health plan members are steered toward PPO providers for their medical care and given favorable discounted rates.
The advantage of this type of arrangement is very obvious – it’s price.
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