07 October 2008

Researching & Comparing Health Insurance

NCQA. The non-profit National Committee for Quality Assurance reviews the quality of health care in the U.S. and publishes a series of NCQA Report Cards. The top two are described below.

Health Plan Report Card. Updated every month, this report describes services and ratings of health plans that are NCQA-Accredited. Don't be put off by the "look" of the opening Search page. The text boxes look like the sort of form that requests YOUR name, but this is not the case here. The text box for "Name" is for the name of an insurance company; you can leave the line blank. The fastest approach is to search by State, selecting your interest in commercial, Medicaid, and/or Medicare plans. When a list appears, you can then checkmark some or all the plans and click on "Compare Selected" for a table of ratings and pertinent facts. On the Ratings page, click on the ? icons for definitions (sometimes via links to the Glossary). These definitions are concise and clear.

America's Best Health Plans. NCQA works with U.S. News & World Report to rank the country's top 50 commercial plans and the top 25 Medicaid/Medicare plans. In about month, the results for 2008 will be released: on the U.S. News Web Site on November 7 and in the print magazine's November 17 issues (available starting on November 10). The data from 2007 are available at the magazine's web site currently.

Cost comparisons: Consumers still must do their own research to compare health plan costs.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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