MGMA 2009: Medicare Part B ranks above private payers in satisfaction

Yesterday at the MGMA 2009 conference, the group unveiled statistics suggesting that--counter to what you might believe--Medicare seems to be doing a relatively good job of satisfying doctors. In fact, a new MGMA study concludes that Medicare Part B ranks higher in total satisfaction with payers than any other national plan. 

The study ranked seven national payers, including Medicare Part B, Aetna, CIGNA, Coventry, Humana, Anthem and UnitedHealthcare, on various aspects of how well they satisfied medical groups. Medicare's top-ranked score was only a 3.59, meaning that doctors were somewhere between "neutral" and "moderately satisfied," but that still put it at the top of the pile. Closely following was Aetna, with a score of 3.14 and CIGNA, with 3.11.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare ranked last of the seven on overall satisfaction, with a score of 2.45, or somewhere between "moderately dissatisfied" and "neutral."

When it came to ratings of a practice's leverage with the payer contracting process, Aetna led the pack, but with a modest 2.24 score, followed by CIGNA with 2.18 and Coventry with 2.17. In other words, at best, physicians are pretty dissatisfied with the level of leverage they have (no big surprise there).

Another interesting set of ratings came from how convinced practices were that the payer operated in good faith. Again, the scores were lower, but Aetna came in first with a score of 2.70, CIGNA with 2.65 and Coventry with 2.60.

All told, it's striking that none of the plans averaged a score above the mid "3"s, rather than a moderately satisfied "4" or completely satisfied "5." It seems fair to say that practices aren't wildly in love with any of their payers. (Kind of makes you wonder why more payers aren't here at the show doing outreach...maybe they have so little leverage already that they just don't care?)

To learn more about the study:
- read this MGMA study overview

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