Costliest Healthcare Plans Not the Best

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) — U.S. health plans costing the most may not have the best quality, and vaccination rates have dropped for kids in private health plans, a non-profit group says.

The State of Health Care Quality report by the National Committee for Quality Assurance conclusion — that high-dollar health insurance plans don’t always deliver the best care — is based on findings on relative resource use across five common, costly and chronic diseases.

Relative resource use makes it possible to talk about quality and cost simultaneously. It indicates how intensively health plans use healthcare resources such as physician visits and hospital stays, compared with other plans in the same region serving similar members.

Using relative resource analysis in more than 1,000 health plans that collectively cover 118 million Americans, shows many healthcare plans have above average costs but worse results — confirming that the saying “you get what you pay for” does not apply to healthcare, the report says.

Childhood vaccination rates in 2009 declined by almost 4 percentage points in private healthcare plans. However, vaccination rates in Medicaid children continue to improve.

A possible cause may be based on the unproven notion that vaccines cause autism advocated by some celebrities.

The drop in childhood vaccinations is disturbing because parents are rejecting valuable treatment based on misinformation, Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA president, says in a statement.

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