There are a number of frequently asked questions and answers that may help you better understand Accountable Care Organizations. Click here for a print-friendly version of the FAQs.
Absolutely—if your doctor participates in an ACO, you can see any healthcare provider who accepts Medicare. Nobody—not your doctor, not your hospital—can tell you who you have to see.
No. An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who work together to provide you with better, more coordinated care. Doctors and hospitals in an ACO communicate with you and with each other to make sure that you get the care you need when you are sick, and the support you need to stay healthy and well.
An ACO isn’t an HMO, managed care or insurance company. Unlike HMOs, managed care, or some insurance plans, an ACO can’t tell you which health care providers to see and can’t change your Medicare benefits. If your doctor participates in a Medicare ACO, you always have the right to choose any doctor or hospital who accepts Medicare at any time.
Over time, if you see a doctor participating in an ACO, you may notice that:
Here are things that won’t change because your doctor is part of an ACO:
You will continue to receive the same rights enjoyed by all people with Medicare. To help you to get the best-coordinated care, Medicare will share information about your medical information with your doctor’s ACO, including medical conditions, prescriptions, and visits to the doctor. This is important to help the ACO keep up with your medical needs and track how well the ACO is doing to keep you healthy and helping you get the right care.
Your privacy is very important to us, so you may choose to have your name and other personal information removed from the information that Medicare shares with your doctor.