Work In Progress: Take Your Medicine

HMOs are using a new service to manage their sickest patients

Since HMOs have done such a sorry job of managing care for healthy folks, how in the world are they ever going to do it for the sickest Americans? That's the vexing question facing health insurers and employers as they try to deal with the growing ranks of the chronically ill--a number that is expected to double, to close to 180 million, in the next few decades.

Though they make up 45% of the population, patients who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, asthma, AIDS and other long-term maladies account for nearly 80% of all health-care costs--often winding up in the emergency...

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