SOURCE: Office of the Patient Advocate

Office of the Patient Advocate

December 07, 2009 13:49 ET

New California PPO Ratings Help Consumers Compare Health Insurance

Report Card Rating Largest PPO Health Plans Now Available in Addition to HMO Ratings on Office of the Patient Advocate Web Site

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - December 7, 2009) - For the first time, Californians have access to a report card rating PPO health plans in the state. The 2010 Edition of the PPO Health Care Quality Report Card rates the five largest PPO health plans in the state based on meeting national standards of care and member satisfaction. In addition to overall quality ratings, the report card rates each PPO on criteria such as asthma care, cancer screenings, diabetes care and treating children. The PPO ratings are the result of collaboration between the California Department of Insurance and California's Office of the Patient Advocate and can be found on the Office of the Patient Advocate Web site at www.healthcarequality.ca.gov.

None of the PPO health plans that were rated received the highest rating of four stars, or "excellent." Three PPO plans -- Aetna, CIGNA HealthCare of California, and Health Net of California -- received a three-star overall rating, or "good." Two plans -- Anthem Blue Cross and UnitedHealthcare (California) -- received a two-star overall rating, or "fair." Blue Shield of California did not report quality data this year due to technical issues, but committed to public reporting in 2010. Visit www.healthcarequality.ca.gov to learn more about the PPO quality ratings and find out how each PPO rated on individual clinical measures such as heart care, diabetes care, and cancer screenings.

"We are happy to be able to provide Californians with this new resource to compare PPO ratings in addition to the HMO quality ratings that we provide annually," said Sandra Perez, director, Office of the Patient Advocate. "However, no matter what rating a health insurance plan receives, Californians can still get quality health care by becoming proactively involved with their health insurance plan or doctor."

The PPO report card is the newest addition to the robust health care quality ratings available on the Office of the Patient Advocate Web site. The Office of the Patient Advocate has published an annual report card rating the largest commercial HMOs and more than 200 medical groups in California since 2001. Also available on the Office of the Patient Advocate Web site is easy access to quality ratings on hospitals, nursing homes, Medi-Cal, Medicare and Healthy Families.

All public reporting in support of the Health Care Quality Report Cards is done on a voluntary basis by health plans and medical groups who collaborate through the California Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative. The 2010 Edition of the PPO Health Care Quality Report Card was developed with the support of the California Department of Insurance, the California Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative, the Pacific Business Group on Health, and the five participating PPOs who provide quality data on a voluntary basis.

The Office of the Patient Advocate is an office in state government established in 2000 to inform and educate Californians about their rights and responsibilities as health insurance plan members and to teach them how to get the most out of their health care. To learn more about getting the most out of your health care, or to download health worksheets and other health care-related tools, visit www.opa.ca.gov.