Although the Group Health Association is the oldest health maintenance organization in the Washington area, it is not the only one.

Both George Washington University and Georgetown university have similar organizations that are newer, smaller and also open to employment groups.

THis high option plans offered by Georgetown University and George Washington University have premiums slightly lower than GHA's and about $5 higher for federal employees than premiums offered by Blue Cross-Blue Shield, the most widely used plan in the Washington metropolitan area. The health maintenance organizations, however, offer more comprehensive benefits generally, making a comparison on the basis of premiums alone difficult.

The George Washington plan has the equivalent of eight full-time physicians to serve about 15,000 members. Staff doctors also received appointments to the faculty of George Washington's medical school. When hospitalization of a patient is required, the plan generally uses George Washington University Hospital or Children's Hospital. George Washington also has one central medical facility in northwest Washington.

Georgetown's plan, which is less closely affiliated with the University, has about 22 full time equivalent primary care physicians family practitioners, internists and pedatrans) with contract arrangements for specialists.

The Georgetown University Community oHealth Plan has four locations - in northeast Washington, Reston, Springfield and Kensington. The plan uses Fairfax Hospital for Virginia members, Providence Hospital for its Northeast members, Washington Adventist, Holy Cross, Sub-urban, or Montgomery General for Maryland members and Georgetown University Hospital for special cases.

GHA uses Doctors Hospital for its patients and George Washington University Hospital for more serious cases and for obstetrics.

Both the Georgtown plan and GHA are federally qualified plans, which means that they offer a range of services that meets federal requirements and that employers of 25 or more persons in the area must make one of the plans, or both, available to employes if conventional health benefits are provided. George Washington's plan has received federal funds to begin the process of becoming federally qualified.

GHA has medical facilities in orthwest Washington (Main facilities), Rockville, Annandale and a dental center in Northwest Washington. Another medical facility is scheduled to be opened next year in Marlow Heights.