October 24, 2014

Physicians rank their favorite insurance companies

Daily Briefing

Blue plans, Aetna, and Cigna topped Medscape Medical News' 2014 "Insurer Ratings Report," which analyzes survey data on physician preferences.

For the report, researchers examined responses from 6,314 U. S. doctors who filled out an online survey from July 9 to September 21.

To determine preference, respondents ranked insurers on a scale of one to five in eight categories:

  • Reimbursement rate;
  • Ease of doing business;
  • Frequency of denials;
  • Willingness to reevaluate denied claims;
  • Speed of claims paid/reimbursement;
  • Accuracy and speed of responses to questions;
  • Precertification and preapproval requirements, and
  • Rating system transparency.

Medscape notes the significant shift in how insurers pay physicians has affected its own criteria.

Respondents said reimbursement rate is the most important factor, followed closely by ease of doing business and frequency of denials.

Who are the top insurers?

According to the report, the best health insurance companies to do business with are:

    1. Blue plans
    2. Aetna
    3. Cigna
    4. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
    5. Medical Mutual of Ohio
    6. United Healthcare
    7. Kaiser Foundation plans
    8. Humana
    9. HealthNet
    10. Oxford Health Plans

Preferences varied slightly by region. Harvard Pilgrim bumped Blue Plans to second in the Northeast, and Cigna placed second in the North Central and West, as well as tying Medical Mutual of Ohio for No. 2 in the South Central.

Who has the best reimbursement rates?

Overall, physicians expressed discontent with reimbursements. Not one insurer earned higher than a three for reimbursement rates. Blue Plans maintained its spot at number one with a 3.0. Aetna came in second at 2.9, while Medicare and Oxford pulling in the lowest score, 2.5.

Who is the easiest to conduct business with?

For the second most important attribute, ease of doing business, Blue Plans and Aetna earned scores of 3.2 and 3.1 respectively, though the lowest score earned by Oxford and HealthNet was only a 2.8 (Kane/Peckham, Medscape Medical News, 10/21).

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