Getting Good Health Care

When Kate Evans was freelancing,she says trying to sort through
health-insurance choices was a nightmare.

She found, "The options weren't reallystraightforward, and it was very
confusing as to what you really got. Pages of information that just didn't make sense."

Consumer Reports analyzed 984 private, Medicare, and Medicaid health-insurance plans ranked by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, or N-C-Q-A, a nonprofit accreditation organization.

Nancy Metcalf with Consumer Reports says, "The rankings take a number of factors into consideration, including customer satisfaction and how good a job the plan does on treatment and prevention."

On the plus side - the quality of care has improved. But Consumer
Reports says there are troubling trends as well.

Nancy adds,"There are treatments and tests that have been shown not to be helpful, yet research shows many are still being overused. That's not only a waste of money, but you could end up getting treatments that are unnecessary, and sometimes even dangerous."

Turns out the providers of the top 10 private plans are all nonprofits.

Nancy points out, ""That means they don't have to worry about turning a profit for investors, they only about pleasing their customers."

In the rankings, big name for-profit companies - UnitedHealthcare,
Aetna, and Humana - had more private plans at the bottom than at the top.

When it comes to shopping for insurance, a new form will make the process much easier.

Nancy explains, ""For the first time, every plan will have a form that looks exactly the same, which will make it much easier to compare them side by side."

So people will have a much easier time comparing different policies.
Consumer Reports says insurance company plans that are accredited by the N-C-Q-A are allotted a certain number of points. Not all insurance plans are accredited - and some are accredited by another group. There is a fee involved for any accreditation.

Consumer Reports says getting accredited is an important step
because it shows insurers are willing to report on their plans performance and that has led to improved performance.

Consumer Reports found in our state the best plan is Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado. It's followed by Cigna Health Care of Colorado and HMO Colorado.

As for medicare health plan rankings Kaiser again came out on top followed by Pacificare of Colorado.

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