Fewer than one in five seniors are familiar with a quality rating system developed by the federal government for Medicare health insurance plans, and even fewer refer to the ratings when they choose a plan, according to a new Kaiser Permanente survey.
Conducted by Harris Interactive, the survey showed 18 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors said they knew about the rating system. Of those, less than one-third actually used it to select a health plan. Only 2 percent of respondents knew how well their plans scored in the ratings.
"Evaluating a Medicare plan can be challenging," Dr. Jed Weissberg, Kaiser senior vice president of hospitals quality and care delivery excellence, said in a statement. "There are many things to consider, but quality should be at the top of any consumer's list."
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services developed the Medicare Star Quality Ratings to help consumers choose medical insurance plans based on quality. The system annually rates each plan on 50 criteria and provides an overall rating. The highest rating is five stars and the lowest rating is one star.
Kaiser recently developed a website to educate consumers about the system. Details are also available on the CMS website.