Health maintenance organizations and point-of-service plans that release quality scores tend to have higher scores than other plans.
Researchers at the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Washington, have made that argument in the nonprofit group’s latest review of health plan quality.
The NCQA is one of several large groups that evaluate health plan quality, but the NCQA contends that it is unique because its “HEDIS” data set – a large set of measures of health care quality – can give consumers, employers and others hard numbers they can use to compare plans and come up with strategies for improving performance.
In the area of completeness of adolescent immunizations, for example, all commercial health plans that participate in the main performance reporting program have increased their effectiveness score to 53.7% in 2005, from 41.6% in 2003.
Plans that make their HEDIS scores available to the public reported an average adolescent immunization effectiveness score of 55.2% in 2005, compared with an average score of just 37.6% for plans that keep their HEDIS results secret, NCQA officials report.