New Medicare HMO Guide a ‘Useful’ Tool for Sacramento-area Seniors, Bee Says
Medicare beneficiaries in the Sacramento area now have a "useful and accessible" tool to help them make "informed decisions" when choosing a health care plan -- the "Guide to California Medicare HMOs," a Sacramento Bee editorial says. The guide, produced by Consumers Union and the California HealthCare Foundation, provides information, including details on patient satisfaction and prescription drug coverage, for seven Medicare+Choice plans in Sacramento County, six in Placer County, four in Yolo County and five in El Dorado County. Although managed care "has largely remained mystery care" for much of the public, the editorial notes that the guide can "begin to redeem an unfulfilled promise of managed care -- that HMOs can be rigorously measured on quality of care and service." Noting that more than one-third of Sacramento-area Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare+Choice, the editorial concludes, "Medicare beneficiaries do have a reason to compare. ... The new guide can help hone their shopping skills. And it will motivate plans to improve the quality in hopes that seniors will notice and choose them over the competition. That would be a healthy outcome for the young and old alike" (Sacramento Bee, 7/13).