Medical Group Management Association members rate Medicare Part B as the top performer in a survey of member satisfaction with major health plans.
Aetna ranked second, and CIGNA was third. United Healthcare was at the bottom at No 7.
The association released the results Tuesday at its annual convention in Denver.
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The survey showed respondents are most satisfied with the disclosure of payers' fee schedules and prompt payment of claims. Administrative processes that are standardized and transparent also produced high satisfaction scores.
The study reflects several common themes, as well as a wide variation in performance among plans on a number of questions related to administrative transactions. The study did not address payment levels.
MGMA members expressed a high level of satisfaction with the major private health plans regarding their provider credentialing processes, but indicated dissatisfaction with this process for Medicare.
"We believe this is result of Medicare's refusal to participate in the standardized physician credentialing system (CAQH Universal Provider Datasource) that is widely used in the private sector," said William F. Jessee, MD, the MGMA's president and CEO. "Our members appreciate payers that provide clear, consistent processes, especially processes that are based on industry-wide standards."
MGMA members gave Medicare Part B the highest marks on questions related to responsiveness, transparency, prompt payment and overall satisfaction with general administrative functions.
"Despite the fact that Medicare consistently underpays and places member practices in an increasingly difficult financial situation – with a looming 21 percent cut to physician payments – MGMA members were positive about the standardized and predicable nature of how the program is administered," said Jessee.
"What makes this study unique is the direct interaction MGMA members and their staffs have with health plans on a daily basis," he said.
The MGMA's membership comprises practice administrators, CEOs, physicians in management, board members and numerous other practice management professionals. They work in medical practices and ambulatory care organizations of all sizes and types, including integrated systems and hospital- and medical school-affiliated practices.
"MGMA represents group practices that are major suppliers of physician services for these health plans," Jessee said. "As such, we look forward to payers reflecting on these results and working with us to create solutions in areas identified as needing improvement. The results speak for themselves. It is our goal that all plans – public and private – achieve positive satisfaction scores from MGMA members on all of these key administrative functions."