Health Insurers in the Spotlight

Consumer Reports Publishes Quality Rankings; HHS Makes Rate Increases Public; They Can Run, But . . .

Are health insurance plans with big brand names better than smaller insurers that most people have never heard of? “Not usually,” says Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor, at Consumer Reports. Unless of course, the plan’s name is “Kaiser.” As Metcalf points out, Kaiser Permanente, a non-profit that insures some 8.8 million Americans nationwide, stands “head and shoulders” above the other large insurers. In general, smaller plans outranked the well-known names, and surprisingly, when it comes to patient satisfaction, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) received higher marks than Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) even though HMOs require that the patient remain “in network.”

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