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

st and were also in the top 10 in Consumer Reports' 2007 survey. Members of these plans reported fewer problems getting the care they needed, and HAP members were more satisfied with their choice of doctors and the care they received.

Rounding out the top rated for HMOs were several Kaiser Permanente plans around the country; Preferred Care; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; and Independent Health.

At the bottom of the HMO list, Oxford Health Plan and Aetna Health HMO members gave the plans lower ratings for choice of providers. Oxford members also reported more problems getting the care they needed, while Aetna plan members reported more problems getting access to doctors.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut was among the top-rated PPOs, as it has been in past surveys. Members remain very pleased with their providers and care they received. Other top-rated plans include Blue Cross and Blue Shield (AL, IL, and MA), Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield (NY), and Independence Blue Cross (PA). GHI (Group Health Inc.), Great-West Healthcare and Health Net members rated choice of doctors in those plans worse than other PPOs.

How to Choose

Picking the right plan depends on many factors, including health conditions, whether specific doctors participate in a plan and what the employer offers:

Try an HMO if cost is key. Compare coverage costs from the past 12 months with the total possible cost of monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance, and prescription costs of other available plans.

Not willing to switch doctors? For consumers who want to continue seeing providers who are not members of an available HMO, a PPO plan might be better. The HMO might pay very little, if anything, for nonplan providers.

Check Consumer Reports' ratings. Survey reader score
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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