Study ranks Aetna, Cigna and Humana as fastest payers

Which health plans pay the fastest? Last year, according to vendor Athenahealth, Aetna, Cigna and Humana made the cut, ranking first out of 172 carriers studied.

To compile its results, Athenahealth collected performance data from more than 18,000 providers, who represented $7 billion in charges to payers in 47 states during 2008.

The health plan ranked as the fastest payer was Humana, whose claims averaged 26.7 days in accounts receivable, followed by Aetna with 28.4 days and CIGNA with 30 days. All three had denial rates between 5 and 6 percent on initial submission. Others on the top eight list include Medicare B, which ranked 5th at 33.4 days, and WellPoint, which ranked 6th at 35.9 days.

One data point generated by the research was that despite economic stresses the country has faced of late, insurers are paying doctors 5.3 percent faster and denying 9 percent fewer medical claims than they did in 2007.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Athenahealth press release