From: Reuters
Published May 29, 2008 04:52 PM

Aetna, Cigna top doctor payment survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health insurer Aetna Inc ranked No. 1 in a national survey of health plans and their dealings with physicians, including being least likely to deny claims and the fastest to pay doctors.

The lowest ranked commercial health insurers were WellPoint Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc, based on overall performance, according to the report issued on Thursday by athenahealth Inc, which sells electronic business services to doctors and medical groups.

The rankings relied on administrative, medical policy and financial data from 2007 from 12,000 medical providers.

Cigna Corp, which ranked first last year, fell to No. 2 in overall performance, followed by Humana Inc, the government Medicare plan, as well as UnitedHealth and WellPoint, the poll found.

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Aetna was quickest at resolving claims, taking an average 27 days to pay a doctor, compared with 30 days for Humana, 33 for Cigna, 35 for UnitedHealth and 36 for WellPoint.

By contrast, the state of New York's Medicaid program, a state-federal health program for the needy, took an average 137 days to pay doctors, the survey found.

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