Consumer Reports Names Top-Ranked Health Plans

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , September 25, 2012

Major Non-Profit Plans
Among the major for-profit health insurers, only Anthem cracked the top 30. The POS offered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield New Hampshire is ranked at number 26. A Cigna HMO in Massachusetts is ranked 39, an Aetna HMO/POS in Massachusetts is ranked 57, UnitedHealthcare's PPO in Rhode Island is ranked 62, and Humana's HMO/POS in Wisconsin is ranked 141.

Medicare Plans
NCQA also released rankings for Medicare Advantage plans and Medicaid HMOs. An HMO from Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Southern California claimed the top Medicare spot while HMOs from Fallon Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Hawaii shared the top Medicaid spot.

HMOs have been ranked for eight years, but this is only the second year for ranking PPOs. This year, private PPOs performed about the same as private HMOs overall, according to Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor for Consumer Reports.

Among the improvements: PPOs have caught up with HMOs in terms of appropriate use of medications for asthma and appropriate use of imaging for lower-back pain. Medicare HMOs perform only slightly better than PPOs, which actually outperform HMOs on some measures, such as managing antidepressant treatments and rheumatoid arthritis medications.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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