New York State Scores Well in Managed Care Health Plans

ALBANY, NY, November 15, 2006 – New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello today announced that the performance of managed care health plans in New York continues to improve and exceed available national benchmarks for similar health plans.

"I am pleased to report that New York State continues to be a national leader in the provision of health care to our residents," said Commissioner Novello. "I am particularly pleased that areas of improvement include preventive care for children and adolescents."

For example, lead testing for two-year-olds in Medicaid managed care was 86% (up from 74% in 2003). The percentage of two-year-olds in commercial managed care who received the recommended series of vaccinations was 76% (up from 67% in 2003).

Health plans in New York also continue to provide a high level of care for their adult members with chronic illnesses. For example, 97% of commercial members who had a heart attack in 2005 received a recommended beta blocker prescription prior to discharge from the hospital. Medicaid managed care enrollees between the ages of 18 and 56 with persistent asthma received appropriate medications to control their asthma 89% of the time, surpassing the national average of 83%.

Detailed information on the performance of health plans is contained in eQARR 2006, a web-based interactive consumer report posted on the Department's website www.nyhealth.gov. This report contains information about the performance of managed care health plans serving New Yorkers enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and employer-sponsored coverage (commercial) in 2005. eQARR provides statewide and regional reports of standardized quality measures and consumer satisfaction results. It is intended to inform and educate health care consumers, providers, and insurers as they make important decisions for themselves, their families and their employees.

New York's high level of health plan performance is reflected in results from consumer satisfaction surveys. Seventy-five percent of Medicaid managed care enrollees said they had no problems with their health plan's customer services (higher than the national average of 69%). Commercial enrollees rated their health plan highly (8, 9, or 10 on a scale of 0 – 10) 67% of the time (above the national average of 65%). These and other results demonstrate that New Yorkers enjoy high levels of quality health care services from their health plans and providers.

The positive performance of New York's managed care plans was reflected in a recent U.S News and World Report ranking of nearly 700 health plans. In their report released last month, 3 of the top 10 commercial managed care plans were from New York and 4 of the top 10 Medicaid plans were New York plans.