Theoretical Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 301–309 | Cite as

The ethics of selectively marketing the Health Maintenance Organization

  • Mark H. Waymack


Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) administrators have been accused of engaging in ‘selective marketing’. That is, through such strategies as tailoring the benefits package of the program or advertising in styles or in media that do not appeal to certain ‘undesirable’ audiences, the administrator can minimize the percentage of persons in the HMO who are heavy users of health care services.

By means of analyzing what ‘insurance’ is (philosophically) and what it means for something to be a free market commodity, the author argues that, as long as American society chooses to regard health insurance as a commodity or service of the free market, the use of such strategies is within the moral rights of health administrators.

The author concludes by noting some morally undesirable results of treating health insurance as a market commodity.

Key words

charity ethics health administration health care as a commodity health insurance as a commodity Health Maintenance Organization insurance justice selective marketing 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark H. Waymack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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