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CU Offers Tips On Choosing A Health Plan In California

October 17, 2001

Guide Coincides With Annual Open Enrollment Season

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – As the healthcare open enrollment season continues for many Californians, Consumers Union urges consumers to conduct research and pick a plan that will serve them best. To assist consumers with this task, Consumers Union has compiled the three-page tip sheet, “Choosing a Health Plan.”
Consumers Union’s tip sheet notes that the distinction between Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) is becoming blurry. Responding to market pressure, some HMOs are easing restrictions and access to care and are beginning to look more like PPOs. And some PPOs, also responding to market forces, may be just as restrictive as traditional HMOs.
“It’s getting harder and harder to choose a health plan because HMOs and PPOs are starting to look more alike,” said Earl Lui, Senior Attorney with Consumers Union. “Consumers should evaluate their families’ health needs and make sure the plan and the doctors in that plan are considering meets those needs.”
Consumers Union offers facts and tips to help California consumers gather information when faced with a variety of health plans. The “Choosing a Health Plan” guide features a set of questions to assess health needs; tips for choosing between an HMO and a PPO; resources for gathering information on individual plans and medical groups; and advice on how to resolve problems with your plan.
“Californians who have a choice in health plans should be vigilant when making one of the most important decisions facing their families,” Lui said. “It’s worth the time and effort to investigate each plan and medical group because this choice will have a direct impact on the quality and affordability of your family’s healthcare.”

Michael McCauley
Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization, serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.