California launches first online PPO rating report card

December 10, 2009

California launched an online resource designed to help consumers decide which preferred provider organization is best for them.

The nation’s most populous state, California, has launched an online resource designed to help consumers decide which preferred provider organization (PPO) is best for them. The state says the site is the first of its kind in the United States. It includes summary ratings as well as the more detailed underlying measurements.

“The value to consumers is huge, but the benefits to the entire healthcare system are even greater. We now have a baseline, and every insurer knows their performance needs to get better every year. Consumers are watching,” Steve Poizner, insurance commissioner for the state, said in a prepared statement.

The state has provided residents served by HMOs a similar resource since 2002.

The ratings are based on a set of standard measures developed by the National Committee on Quality Assurance. Criteria include asthma care, checking for cancer, diabetes care, and treatment of children. In addition to grades based on clinical best practices, reports also include the results of a voluntary survey completed by plan members related to consumer satisfaction.

None of the five PPOs on the report card received the highest, four-star rating, but Aetna, CIGNA HealthCare of California, and Health Net of California each received three stars overall. United Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross each received two stars overall. Blue Shield of California did not report findings due to technical issues but reportedly plans to report data next year.