Even as health plans tout their ratings of the quality of their hospitals and other providers, it’s not surprising that hospitals, at least, are returning the favor. A survey released by Davies Public Affairs measured hospital executives’ perceptions of the nation’s largest health insurance companies.
United Healthcare generated particularly intense responses among hospital executives. The Minneapolis-based insurer garnered an unfavorable opinion from 91 percent of executives polled. This compares with an average unfavorable rating of 41 percent for all other insurers. Lest you think this is an anomaly, last year 87 percent of participants said United Healthcare was “difficult” or “very difficult” to deal with. Maybe this is just sour grapes for executives who are picking on United Healthcare because it is tight-fisted? But no, that’s not the case.
United’s “reimbursement rates were not significantly lower than other major payers,” says Brandon Edwards, president and chief operating officer of Davies. “They are viewed as untrustworthy and dishonest. This was an unanticipated finding.”
Cheryl Randolph, spokeswoman for United Healthcare, says, “While we welcome productive evaluations from our customers and network providers, we are disappointed that this narrow survey fails to fairly represent the good relationships that United Healthcare has with most hospitals.” The survey results are based on 113 interview respondents representing more than 500 hospitals, or about 10 percent of all hospitals in the United States.