I recently picked up a copy of the November issue of Consumer Reports, which included a section about health insurance. The article featured an interview with President Obama, and a good overview of how the changes included in the PPACA will impact consumers. In addition, Consumer Reports published a ranking of 227 HMO and POS (point-of-service) plans (you have to subscribe to Consumer Reports Health in order to be able to see the details online), according to data compiled by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
Not all carriers submit data to the NCQA, and some don’t submit enough data to qualify for ranking, but the report included 7 carriers in Colorado. The overall top ranking carrier was Kaiser of Colorado. Kaiser is available to people who want to purchase individual health insurance, but only for those who live or work in the front range between south Denver up through Loveland. It’s an HMO, based around Kaiser-owned medical facilities, and those facilities are located in that metropolitan area. There are facilities in Colorado Springs, but Kaiser doesn’t offer individual coverage in the Springs.
Cigna Healthcare of Colorado came in second on the NCQA ranking, with relatively high overall scores for all three areas of comparison (customer satisfaction, prevention, and treatment). Aetna and United Healthcare of Colorado also scored relatively well, with Consumer Reports assigning them composite scores of 82 each (out of a possible 100, and compared with the 88 given to Kaiser).
For people looking for individual health insurance, the vast majority of the individual policies sold in Colorado are PPO, rather than the POS and HMOs that were evaluated for the Consumer Reports article. Cigna, Aetna, and United Healthcare – all highly ranked in the study – also offer PPO products for individuals and families who need to purchase health insurance on their own.