One of the hottest topics of the 21st century is health care. Which plan to go with, how much it will cost monthly and which plan is best for you and your family, are all fodder for dinner table or coffee shop conversation. These questions are especially important for seniors and others who are eligible for Medicare.
Medicare has been rating health plans since 2007, but now Medicare beneficiaries are taking notice of the star ratings, and giving more weight to whether their current plan provides the highest-quality health care and value similar to or above that of a 5-star Medicare health plan.
To this end, Kaiser Permanente, which has the most 5-star plans nationwide for 2013, is sharing what it believes is a key area of consideration when evaluating a Medicare plan—preventive care.
“Medicare members should select a plan that is proactive in helping them stay healthy and active as they age. They need to know if their plan does a good job preventing them from getting sick through screenings, vaccines and tests,” says Jed Weissberg, M.D., medical director, Kaiser Permanente Medicare plans. “They also need to know how well their plan manages chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.”
Kaiser scores well above the national average in preventive screenings, citing a recent report by the 2012 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set that found that almost 90 percent of eligible Kaiser Permanente Medicare members received breast cancer screenings, and nearly 88 percent received colorectal cancer screenings.
The ratings are important because if CMS rates a Medicare health plan a 5 out of 5 stars, beneficiaries can feel certain about choosing the highest-quality plan available and know that they can join that plan almost any time that year.
To learn more about the Medicare Star Quality Ratings and Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare plans, visit www.kp.org/medicare or call 1-855-817-5831. Note that plan performance summary star ratings are assessed by CMS annually and may change from one year to the next, so it’s important to reevaluate your health care plan on an annual basis.
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