PICKING A HEALTH PLAN

A HOW-TO GUIDE

EVEN THOUGH MANAGED CARE has only recently taken hold in the bedrock of American medicine, it has already inspired a couple of popular sayings. One is that managed care is about managing costs, not care. The other is that the new health plans work really well--so long as you don't get sick. To these, consumer advocates add a third adage: people should approach health-care coverage as they would buying a car: shop around, read the fine print, and buyer beware.

More than 100 million Americans are enrolled in some form of organized health-delivery system--an HMO, managed-care network or preferred-provider plan. Many...

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