There can be a variety of answers present to such a question. Significant trends in a field as diverse and intense as managed health care are intricate and complex. I would suggest that one particular trend is how managed care programs are going to be impacted by the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act. As the legislation becomes a more embedded part of American society and life, a dominant trend is going to be examining how it will impact the delivery and quality of health care to more Americans. New prices, new services, and new products in the managed care industry that match with the legislation's demands is going to be one significant trend in the managed care setting.
Along these lines, I would suggest that an interesting trend that might emerge in managed care is what will happen to retirees who might have to "enter the marketplace" to choose health care services and providers. As many retirees experience a change in their health care delivery due to the tenets of the Affordable Care Act, a trend will emerge as to how these individuals will respond to the change. The Affordable Care Act has enhanced the marketplace setting as one where individuals are able to choose health care coverage plans and providers that fit their needs. Many retired individuals who enjoyed health care being provided by an external reality might find themselves having to reenter the marketplace to choose from different managed care solutions. How these individuals facilitate the transition that the law is going to cause will turn out to be an interesting trend line in managed care.
How for- profit health care initiatives will fit into the setting where there Affordable Care Act legislation is another trend. For a while, managed health care has wrestled with the idea of for- profit care institutions. This trend has not changed and its presence will continue to be debated as the Affordable Care Act becomes a reality:
The primary concern about for-profit health care organizations is that because of their efforts to serve both shareholders and patients, the potential benefits of managed care may be lost as efforts to maximize profits become more acute. Traditionally, non-profit health care institutions have been committed to providing community benefits such as care for the uninsured, programs for special needs populations, community wide health assessments and screening, and medical research and education.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act and its permeating influence will heighten the trend of questioning whether for- profit managed health care institutions fits patient interests. This trend has never really gone away. As "for- profit" managed health care solutions have presented themselves, it has been an active trend. Managed health care that is responsive to shareholders and corporate interests versus institutions that are driven towards public health and wellness is an active trend. As more Americans are finding cost containment to be a real concern in managed care, this trend still exists. It plays an active role in how individuals navigate their way through wellness and managed health care.