Doctor Bias Against Fat Patients; Best-Liked Insurers; More

Neil Chesanow


September 06, 2016

In This Article

Guess Which Insurer Doctors Like Most?

Recently, the market research firm Peer60 surveyed nearly 800 ambulatory care leaders to learn which insurers were ranked at the top and the bottom of the payer market.[3] By far, the largest group of respondents (36.8%) were physicians. Other survey participants included practice administrators and financial and nurse leaders.

To the surprise of everyone, Medicare—allegedly "slow, inefficient, broken, and inflexible," the researchers marveled—ranked number two among the crème de la crème (with 16% of the vote), according to providers who took part, behind Blue Cross Blue Shield, which ranked first at 22%, and way ahead of UnitedHealthcare (UHC), which ranked a distant third at 9%.[3]

The data presented in the report may suggest that "maybe Medicare isn't the devil it's often made out to be," the researchers concluded.[3]

Medicare earned high marks from doctors as the payer with the fastest reimbursement, the best precertification, the lowest staff time required to file claims, the easiest to negotiate with, the least amount of paperwork required, the fewest denied claims, and the best customer service.[3]

The number-one cause of dissatisfaction among physicians is what is viewed as "the needless waste of staff time caused by payers," the researchers observed.[3]

Although UHC was the top payer in terms of number of contracts, it led the list of least favorite payers among ambulatory providers, with 20% of the vote, followed by Blue Cross Blue Shield (11%), Humana (10%), and Aetna (7%).[3]

To be fair, UHC is the nation's largest insurer. As the report noted, "Biggest player, biggest target on your back."[3]