As you review the different health care options available in Georgia, you’ll note that there are options from several major national providers. In reviewing pros and cons, you’ll want to make sure your choice is financially sound, ranks well, and provides access to the health care professionals or organizations that you prefer. Another method for choosing well is to review ratings from third parties. US News and World Report recently ran rankings of some of the health insurance providers who operate in Georgia; they evaluated responses from consumers, physicians, and their own reviewers to come up with ratings and scores
United Health Plan performed fairly well, just two-tenths of a point behind their competition, Aetna, on the ratings report, with an overall score on a 100 point scale of 82.3. Like the national competition in Gerogia, United Health has NCQA accreditation; this means that they’ve gone through a rigorous screening process to meet 60 separate standards checks and must annually renew and prove that they are meeting increasing tough standards of quality in order to retain this prestigious distinction. Think of the NCQA as the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval, for insurance plans. For more information on NCQA, an independent not-for-profit group, visit their site—ncqa.org.
United Health Care performed particularly well with regard to treatment options—specifically, for asthma medication and treatment. They have strong support for other treatment needs as well (mental and behavioral health, alcohol and/or drug awareness, and testing for children and adolescents). The balance of their scores were average or above average, in most categories.
One of United Health Care’s biggest initiatives on a national level—especially relevant for Georgians who live in rural areas or who may not have access to every specialty, within their local area, is a new partnership with Cisco to present “Connected Care”. Connected Care takes advantage of technology to offer access to health care providers and resources online, in a one-on-one format, with secure conversations possible between patient and doctor (minus the office visit).
There is an accompanying mobile access clinic (again, to increase access in rural communities) and the initiative, just launched, is gaining momentum. Imagine—being at work, and being able to spend 5 minutes one-on-one chatting with your doctor about a problem or question—without taking 90 minutes from your day to drive to the doctor, wait, meet with him/her, drive back…online access means quick answers, less worry, and better communication. And access to specialists in faraway places is that much easier.