ACHP: New Health Plan Rankings Highlight Need for More and Better Quality Measurement in Medicare

Six of America’s best Medicare health plans are ACHP members; ACHP members also among best Medicaid and commercial plans. New advertising unveiled today congratulates all of America’s best health plans for commitment to quality care 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) announced that six of America’s best Medicare health plans are ACHP members, according to new rankings released today by US News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

“We’re delighted that ACHP members have again been recognized for the high-quality care they deliver to Medicare beneficiaries and all of their members,” said Jack Ebeler, President and CEO of ACHP.”

ACHP members outperform other Medicare health plans on each of the 21 measures that comprise a plan’s clinical quality rating.  On the commercial side, ACHP members beat other plans on each of the 34 measures that comprise a plan’s clinical quality rating.

Ebeler continued, “I hope the increased visibility US News & World Report brings this year’s rankings highlights the need for more and better quality information about all Medicare options.  Today’s announcement focuses on the rankings of existing Medicare Advantage products.  Beneficiaries, on the other hand, are being bombarded with materials about brand new options they know little, if anything, about.

“Because people with Medicare have more choices now than ever before, they deserve to know how every plan in their community performs.  ACHP members and other local Medicare Advantage plans currently report a range of quality information to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which beneficiaries can access today.  New prescription drug-only plans and regional PPOs should be held to the same rigorous standards,” Ebeler concluded.

Most ACHP members will offer local Medicare Advantage plans to beneficiaries in their communities beginning January 1, 2006.  These plans offer prescription drug coverage and a more generous array of benefits than prescription drug-only plans.

ACHP supports the introduction of value-based purchasing in Medicare that would offer payment incentives to health plans and other providers for delivering better quality care.  CMS Administrator Mark McClellan has indicated that the agency is ‘100 percent committed’ to payment-for-performance.

“The best way forward is a system that evaluates both health care processes and outcomes and allows a straightforward, ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison of every health plan option,” said Carole Johnson, ACHP’s Policy Director.  “All Medicare plans should be held to the same high standards.”

ACHP also unveiled a new full-page advertisement — which appears in today’s CongressDailyAM — that congratulates its members and all ofAmerica’s best health plans for their commitment to high-quality health care.

The advertisement reads, “ACHP members have years of proven experience in Medicare and are proud to offer local Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage to people with Medicare.  US News & World Report and the National Committee for Quality Assurance recognize ACHP members as some ofAmerica’s highest-quality health plans.  Congratulations to ACHP members and to all ofAmerica’s best health plans for your commitment to high-quality care for Americans in their communities.”

ACHP is also running a new advertisement on the “America’s Best Health Plans” portion of U.S. News & World Report’s Web site, www.usnews.com.

ACHP members included among America’s best Medicare plans this year are: Capital Health Plan (FL); Fallon Community Health Plan (MA); HealthPartners (MN); and Kaiser Foundation Health Plans of Colorado, Hawaii and the Northwest (OR, WA)

ACHP members were also recognized among America’s best Medicaid and commercial health plans.  UPMC Health Plan (PA) and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Hawaii appeared on the top Medicaid plan list.  Commercial plans cited by US News & World Report and NCQA included Capital Health Plan (FL); Fallon Community Health Plan (MA); Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Hawaii; and UPMC Health Plan (PA).

ACHP members have proven experience delivering comprehensive Medicare benefits to beneficiaries in their communities and measuring and reporting the quality of the care they provide.  They comprise 20 percent of the current Medicare Advantage market.

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 ACHP is a leadership organization that brings together innovative health plans and provider organizations that are among America’s best at delivering affordable, high-quality coverage and care to their communities. Drawing on years of experience, members collaborate to identify problems, share information and work toward solutions to some of health care’s biggest challenges. Their work is the foundation for ACHP’s advocacy on behalf of better health care nationally.  More information about ACHP is available at www.achp.org.

Capital Health Plan; CareOregon; Fallon Community Health Plan; Group Health Cooperative; Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin; Health Alliance Plan; HealthPartners; HIP Health Plan of New York; Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and the Permanente Federation; M•Plan; OSF HealthPlans; UCare Minnesota; UPMC Health Plan