REPORT CARDS: Average Scores For HMOs Reported Nationally
Michigan-based MEDSTAT Group and JD Power and Associates in Agoura Hills Tuesday released health insurer "report cards" that "polled more than 32,000 patients in 181 health plans nationwide" to "assess patient satisfaction" and to promote "improvements in health plans by showing how the rank among their peers," the Contra Costa Times reports. "In the 1960s, auto industry, poor quality products and deplorable service was the rule. Today the consumer is running the industry," said J.D. Power III, chair of JD Power. "The information revolution helped bring about that change. We believe the health care industry needs this same model of measuring what is important to consumers" (Appleby, 6/10). "The survey of 81,000 enrollees on issues such as choice of doctors and confidence in a plan's ability to provide services gave HMOs top ranking in 10 of 20 markets" versus "less restrictive forms of coverage" (Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 6/10). The Contra Costa Times reports that scores "ranged from a low of 54 to a high of 77, with as much as an 18 point spread between the top and bottom-ranked plans" (6/10). Dennis Becker, senior vice president of the MEDSTAT Group, said, "'We were surprised at how well they performed, given what you read in the media' about consumer dissatisfaction with HMOs" (Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times, 6/10).
According to the Contra Costa Times, six of the San Francisco Bay area HMOs -- Aetna U.S. Healthcare, CIGNA HealthCare, HealthNet, Kaiser Permanente, PacifiCare and United HealthCare -- got "68 points out of 100" -- and "[n]one distinguished itself enough to be ranked No. 1" (6/10). The Chicago Tribune reports that "all of the Chicago plans scored in the 60s, with HMO Illinois, the managed care plan owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, rated No. 1 at 69 points." Chicago health plans' "average of 64 matched that of the New York, Cleveland-Akron and Dallas-Ft. Worth areas." Houston-Galveston area consumers "gave their health plans an average score of 63, the survey's lowest, and Lansing, Mich., plans earned the highest average, 72" (Japsen, 6/10).