Consumer Reports Ranks Maryland Health Insurance Plans Among the Best

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Consumer Reports, an organization that provides public guidance about product quality and value, has published a comprehensive guide with expert advice on what consumers need to know when choosing a health insurance plan. In the guide, CR ranks national health insurance plans and reports that the Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan (USFHP) is the best private health insurer in Maryland. In addition, Priority Partners, a joint venture between Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC and the Maryland Community Health System is the state’s top Medicaid health plan.

Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs (EHP), a self-funded health plan serving over 50,000 members in Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania, and Northern Virginia, is ranked the state’s fourth best out of a total of 14 insurers listed.

The data for the health insurance guide comes from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a nonprofit organization in Washington DC. Over 800 health plans enrolling 127 million customers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were ranked, including 540 HMO’s and 285 PPO’s. Public Medicare and Medicaid plans were also included.

Health insurance plans were ranked based on a combined score ranging from 1 to 100 points based on how the plan compares with others within its category. The total score was partially determined by values assigned to categories including treatment and prevention (60%) and patient satisfaction and experience of care (25%). Programs accredited were NCQA were given extra points as a “bonus”, but this did not necessarily guarantee quality care, notes Consumer Reports.

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Performance measures were based on data from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, or HEDIS. Plans submit HEDIS data from billing and medical records as well as patient medical charts. Consumer satisfaction is based on two surveys: the Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems survey (CAHPS) and the Health Outcome Survey (HOS).

Prevention and treatment measures were based on 69 criteria in eight areas of care, such as asthma-medication use and controlling high blood pressure.

Johns Hopkins USFHP is a managed care program for military retirees, active-duty family members and survivors. It is a designated TRICARE Prime plan sponsored by the Department of Defense. “It is a great honor and we are very proud to be recognized by Consumers Reports and ranked among the top plans in the country and in our state,” says Patricia M.C. Brown, Esq., president of the Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC and Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs. “With this recognition comes the responsibility to continue maintaining the high quality that our members expect from us.”

Priority Partners is a managed care organization that provides low- and no-cost health care services to qualifying families, adults and children in the state of Maryland. It is one of seven Managed Care Organizations authorized by the state to provide health care services for over 185,000 Medicaid, Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP), Medical Assistance for Families and Primary Adult Care (PAC) recipients.

In addition to ranking national health care plans, Consumer Reports also provides guidance in understanding health insurance, making sense of healthcare reform, and how to navigate Medicare and Medicaid plans.

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