The man referred to as the father of the HMO, Paul Ellwood Jr., MD, has died at 95, the New York Times reported June 22.
Dr. Ellwood gave up practicing pediatric neurology in the late 1960s to devote himself to national health reform, according to the report.
While others made important contributions to the concept and some localized prepaid health plans had existed for decades, it was Dr. Ellwood who coined the term HMO in 1970, according to the report.
Many of his ideas were incorporated into the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973, according to the report. The law required employers with 25 or more workers to offer HMO options with health insurance plans.
More than 70 million people in the U.S. are now enrolled in HMOs, according to the report.