Not all health plans are the same. The benefits, costs, and quality of care differ from plan to plan. Also, one health insurance company can offer different plans with different benefits and costs. For example, one plan may have a higher deductible (the amount you pay before the health plan starts to pay) than another plan.
All health plans that the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) oversees must cover basic benefits. These include check-ups, routine tests, specialist care, and hospital and emergency care. You can see a list of these basic benefits. Other benefits, like prescription drugs and durable medical equipment (such as wheelchairs) may be covered by some plans and not by others. Your benefit package is all the benefits, or services, your health plan covers.
Costs differ from plan to plan. When you compare costs, look at the benefits as well as the costs. The plan that seems to cost less can really cost you more if it does not cover the services that you need.
The quality of care differs from plan to plan. The HMO Report Card can help you compare the quality of care for HMOs and medical groups in California.
California Office of the Patient Advocate
Report cards with information on California HMOs, PPOs and Medical Groups
1-866-466-8900 (many languages)
DMHC Plan Surveys and Summary Reports
Reports on health plan surveys conducted by the DMHC to make sure that health plans meet quality and medical standards
Information and on-line search tool to help consumers find health plans and public programs in each state
National Committee for Quality Assurance
Information on quality health care and health plan standards