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New Report Cards Grade California Health Plans And Medical Groups

Photo credit: 401(K) 2012 / flickr

A piggy bank, a roll of money, and a stethoscope are pictured on Dec. 1, 2011.

There are new tools to help consumers choose the right health plan and medical group: the 2016 report cards from the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

Some health plans and medical groups received grades you wouldn't want to bring home to your parents. The poor grades are found in this year's edition of the annual report cards from the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

The 2016 report cards rate California’s 10 biggest HMOs and five largest PPOs in the areas of clinical performance and patient experience.

Both the Sharp Health plan and Kaiser Permanente earned high marks this year. In contrast, Aetna got the worst marks of any HMO.

The report cards also rate participating medical groups in each county, and give marks on the average amount patients and health plans pay annually for care. Some medical groups in San Diego County earned low marks for not using treatments proven to be effective.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, said he thinks it's good information for consumers.

“But it’s important for policymakers and advocates to be able to see what’s going on in our healthcare system," Wright explained. "Are the insurers living up to the promises and to the standards that we want them to?”

Wright said the report cards can help consumers make better choices in November’s open enrollment period.

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