Home / Today's Top Stories / Rochester HMOs earn recognition from U.S. News

Rochester HMOs earn recognition from U.S. News

Blue Choice and Preferred Care have received the highest rating in a national ranking, the second high rating this summer from a national magazine for Blue Choice.
U.S. News & World Report presents its first HMO Honor Roll in the magazine’s Sept. 2 issue. Blue Choice, listed under Finger Lakes Health Insurance, and Preferred Care, listed under Rochester Area HMO, were two of 21 plans nationwide to receive the magazine’s highest rating and tied for 10th with two others among the 132 evaluated.
Blue Choice is a product of the former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Rochester Area. Effective today, the company has changed its trade name to Finger Lakes Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
“We are undertaking this change as a means to promote consistency among the Finger Lakes’ companies’ family of businesses and products,” said Senior Vice President Raymond Savage. “The change will have no effect on the products and services we offer, but will reinforce our corporate identity as this region’s pre-eminent health insurance company.”
Legally, the company is made up of two corporations: Finger Lakes Health Insurance Co. Inc. (Blue Cross) and Finger Lake Medical Insurance Co. Inc. (Blue Shield).
Use of the new trade name and logo will be phased in over the next several months, beginning with this year’s fall advertising and sales materials.
Earlier this summer, the company merged with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Central New York. Under the agreement, the two companies will remain separate but report to the same holding company, UNYS Inc. The holding company allows the two companies to pursue joint business ventures in the future.
Local officials also said the company might pursue other mergers in the future, evaluating each as it comes up. However, they said a merger with another upstate entity would be the most attractive.
The U.S. News & World Report article discusses how measurements of HMOs are in their infancy and how the National Committee for Quality Assurance has come up with a new Quality Compass measurement for preventive-care programs. The honor roll is based on five aspects of the Quality Compass: immunization rates, prenatal care, mammography screenings, Pap tests and cholesterol testing.
The article also explores the need for standardizing measurements, and the need for consumers to see outcome-based ratings.
NCQA is becoming the generally recognized accreditation arm for the HMO industry. However, the Quality Compass is different from the accreditation process and examines different measurements. More than 300 HMOs refused to participate in the Quality Compass program, as opposed to the accreditation process, and were not included in the magazine’s ratings.
Preferred Care spokeswoman Connie Jewett said Preferred Care and Blue Choice probably ended up with the same score because most Rochester-area physicians contract with both plans.
Consumer Reports earlier this summer surveyed HMO members across the country, and Blue Choice received the highest customer-satisfaction score among the HMOs in the survey. Bloomberg Personal last year rated Blue Choice as the best HMO in the country.
Like Consumer Reports, U.S. News & World Report states that the surveys are not perfect and could contain some errors and inconsistencies in data provided by the companies.

Rochester HMOs earn recognition from U.S. News

Blue Choice and Preferred Care have received the highest rating in a national ranking, the second high rating this summer from a national magazine for Blue Choice.
U.S. News & World Report presents its first HMO Honor Roll in the magazine’s Sept.

x

Check Also

house-for-sale

Monroe County home prices rise, closed sales fall, October report shows (access required)

The median price on October home sales in Monroe County rose $10,000 year-over-year to $150,000, but that's still $4,000 to ...