An accountable care organization (ACO) is a new health care delivery model envisioned by theAffordable Care Act (ACA) in which a group of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers work together to coordinate care for people enrolled in Original Medicare.
Many Medicare beneficiaries have several chronic conditions and see several different doctors. As often as not, the doctors don’t work together, and the patient receives redundant or conflicting care. Under the new model, an ACO will be responsible for all providing all health care services for a Medicare beneficiary. Through better coordination and communication, ACOs are expected to provide better care and lower costs.
As with Original Medicare, ACOs will still be paid on a fee-for-service basis. However, they will also be able to earn more if they keep costs down while meeting quality targets. If the ACO saves money, the savings will be shared between the ACO and the Medicare program.
ACOs are expected to save Medicare $960 million over three years, according to HealthCare.gov.