AMA issues first health insurer report card

Increasingly, providers and their vendors have begun to rate insurance companies. This comes in part as a means of turning the tables on the insurers who, some say, have become far too focused on rating and ranking providers. The latest to enter the "rate your insurer" sweepstakes is now the American Medical Association, which issued its first health insurance report card yesterday at the group's annual meeting. The report card, which purports to be an attempt to cut the cost of claims processing for doctors, compares payment rates for Medicare and seven national commercial health plans on how quickly and accurately they pay claims. The report card is based on a random sample taken from 3 million claims.

According to the report card, UnitedHealthcare has the lowest rate of contract compliance, with about 62 percent of medical services billed paid by UHC at the contracted rate, compared with 98 percent for Medicare and 71 percent for Aetna. Medicare actually performed better than private insurers in most areas, in part because it isn't obliged to constantly prove to employer customers that it's being tough on costs, observers noted.

To learn more about the report card:
- read this Associated Press piece

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