HMO Enrollment Reverses Fall

October 2, 2001 ( - Enrollment in U.S. health maintenance organizations (HMOs) increased 0.3% over the past six months, turning around from the 0.9% decrease experienced between July 1999 and July 2000, according to a new report.

However, the total number of HMOs operating in the US continued to fall, dropping to 541 from 560 six months ago, according to the HMO Industry Report by InterStudy.

The report reveals that total HMO enrollment grew at increasingly higher rates during the first half of the 1990s but slowed in the latter half  and declined for the first time between January 1, 1999, and July 1, 1999. As of January 1, 2001, total HMO enrollment was estimated at 79.5 million, down from the 80.1 million six months earlier.

According to last year’s report, the annual decrease in enrollment can be attributed to the first half of 2000, when HMOs lost almost 780,000 members. In the prior six months, HMOs actually experienced a slight increase of 0.1% in membership.