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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tufts Health Plan tops Consumer Reports survey

Tufts Health Plan tops this yearís Consumer Reports reader survey rating HMO plans, with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and HMO Blue not far behind. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts finished among the top PPO plans, according to the September issue.

The health plans were judged on how satisfied respondents were with the choice of doctors, care from doctors, access to doctors, primary-care doctors and billing. A perfect score of 100 means perfectly satisfied, 80 means very satisfied and 60 means fairly satisfied.

Tufts scored 85, a jump up from 79 and 11th place two years ago. The magazine said adding doctors to its plan translated into higher scores on choice of doctors and access to care.

The other local plans did about the same as in 2005. Harvard Pilgrim came in 10th with an 82; HMO Blue was in 12th place with a score of 80; and Blue Cross Blue Shield ranked sixth with a score of 81.

Overall, 67 percent of the 37,000 readers who replied said they were completely or very satisfied with their plan, an uptick from 64 percent in the last poll, the magazine said. Thatís lower than the 84 percent of people who had an auto insurance claim and were happy with their planís service.

The magazine polls its readers every two years on how satisfied they are with their managed-care health plans. Readers are asked about the 100 largest insurers in the country, based on the number of subscribers. To be ranked this year, a health maintenance organization had to receive at least 11,800 replies and a preferred provider organization had to get 25,560. A total of 34 HMOs and 46 PPOs made the cut this year. Smaller Massachusetts plans such as Fallon Community Health Plan, Health New England and Neighborhood Health Plan were not included.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 10:45 AM
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