Physicians rate insurers on claims payments

A new vendor survey rating health plans on how quickly they pay doctors has ranked UnitedHealth last and Aetna first among leading national insurers. The annual survey, conducted by payment services provider athenahealth and journal Physicians Practice, found that UnitedHealth paid claims in 38.3 days on average. Aetna, meanwhile, had average payment times of 29.8 days. The worst offender among all health plans measured was New York's Medicaid plan, which averages a whopping 111 days to pay its bills. The data comes from a national sample of athenahealth's 8,500 physician clients. Not surprisingly, plans that ranked poorly are protesting the results. For example, WellPoint disputed the importance its sixth-place ranking, arguing that the results aren't statistically significant and contradict other independent rankings.

To find out more about the survey:
- read this Wall Street Journal item (sub. req.)
- read the athenahealth press release

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