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Consumer Reports Survey: HMOs Beat PPOs on Cost, Customer Support and Billing Services
Date:8/3/2009

th $2,003) and less out of pocket on their medical bills. Among PPO members who were seriously ill, 69% paid $1,000 or more on bills, while only 47% of seriously ill people in HMOs spent that much.

In the past, HMO members who were seriously ill had more trouble getting access to care, but this time there was little difference: Of HMO members who were ill, 15% had problems getting care, compared with 14% of PPO members.

Problems with service

People in PPOs had more trouble with their bills. Overall, 24 percent of people in PPOs had a billing problem, while just 11 percent of HMO members had similar issues. Moreover, 33 percent of PPO embers who reported having a serious illness had billing problems compared to just 14 percent of seriously ill HMO patients.

Twenty percent of PPO members also said they had trouble with telephone customer support and were more likely to contact the plan several times to get a problem solved, versus 12 percent of those in HMOs.

For the first time, Consumer Reports asked subscribers about using plan Web sites to seek information, forms, and customer support. HMOs came out on top again, and had top notch scores for ease of navigation, easy access to forms, and online help.

Rating the Plans

Respondents' experiences with their health insurance were far better if they were enrolled in plans at the top of Consumer Reports' ranking. Only 4 percent of respondents had problems getting the care they needed in higher-rated plans.

Eighteen percent of all respondents said that they had trouble getting to see a plan doctor at some point during the year. Among users of some lower-rated plans, as many as 16 percent complained it was either difficult or impossible to get needed care.

Among HMOs, Group Health Cooperative and Health Alliance Plan topped the li
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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