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D. Understanding Managed Care Plans

Narrator: This is Science Today. A health care watchdog organization recently found that although nearly half the nation's premature deaths were linked to such preventable causes as unhealthy diet, lack of exercise or substance abuse, few managed care plans routinely offer services to change these behaviors. Kathryn Phillips, a health services researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, says managed care plans historically haven't offered these services.

Phillips: Often because they don't see the results - the members changed plans before the plan can reap the benefits of a behavior change and it's sometimes much more difficult to provide that type of in-depth preventive service than it is to provide a simple screening procedure.

Narrator: Phillips cautions against thinking of managed care as one monolithic type of health plan.

Phillips: These days, most plans have some type of managed care feature, so we need to learn to think more specifically about what the characteristics of specific plans are.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.