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Some states to rate health plans on quality this fall

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Kaiser Health writes some states will commence rating health plans this fall, on quality measures designed to help consumers make better-informed decisions about what coverage to buy.  Examples from states include

  • In Oregon, insurers will get one to four stars depending on their screening rates for breast cancer, flu shot delivery and complaint resolution, among other measures.
  • Maryland is considering ranking insurers on how they deal with chronic illnesses and interact with minority groups.
  • Colorado will rate them based on a federal consumer satisfaction survey.

Those states and a handful of others, among them Minnesota and California, are opting to do the ratings early, before the federal health law requires them to do so in 2016.  Those plans will take effect next January, when most Americans must carry health insurance.  And while all plans offered in the new online markets must be accredited, consumers may have little information about an insurer’s track record. The idea behind the ratings is to help them compare plans on more than price tag or benefits. In many states, however, consumers will not see much data this fall. That’s because the federal health law does not require states to post quality information about participating plans for two years.  Federal officials say they intend to provide shoppers in the 26 markets they’re overseeing this year with data from a long-running government survey that tracks patient satisfaction with customer service and access to care.

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