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State Report Card Mixed Bag For HMOs

Audio

Aired 3/11/11

California consumers gave most HMOs poor grades on getting timely care. That's a key finding in the California Office of the Patient Advocate 10th annual report card on health plans.

— California consumers gave most HMOs poor grades on getting timely care.

That's a key finding in the California Office of the Patient Advocate 10th annual report card on health plans.

Consumers gave nine of the state's biggest HMOs either poor or fair grades in the area of getting appointments and care without delay.

California Patient Advocate Sandra Perez said about one in three members complained plans didn't give them accurate cost information.

"Plans are not providing good information on the cost of care," Perez remarked, "which means, patients either avoid the care, or they go in and unexpectedly are charged."

The report card also measures how well plans are doing in 10 different categories of health care quality. Overall, the vast majority of HMOs did well compared to their counterparts nationwide.

A new state law could boost consumer satisfaction in next year's report card.

It requires health plans to schedule an appointment to see a primary care doctor or a specialist within two weeks of the request.

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