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Unread 10-30-2009, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
263 posts, read 489,867 times
Reputation: 187
Question Kaiser Permanente or HMSA?

We have open season for health insurance at my workplace. I'm looking at the various plans. If you had to choose between Kaiser Permanente or HMSA (Blue Cross Blue Shield) which insurance plan would you go with, and why? Thanks.
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Unread 10-30-2009, 10:32 PM
 
253 posts, read 569,993 times
Reputation: 97
Been very happy for the most part with Kaiser in Hilo.
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Unread 10-31-2009, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Hawaii
33 posts, read 58,434 times
Reputation: 23
I actually have to make the same decision. Isn't Kaiser an HMO? I thought HMOs were bad?
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Unread 10-31-2009, 08:48 AM
 
253 posts, read 569,993 times
Reputation: 97
That's kind of a broad generalization....
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Unread 10-31-2009, 09:07 AM
 
1,047 posts, read 2,893,212 times
Reputation: 536
IMHO, it's not that HMOs are "bad," they're supposed to be the cheaper alternative to traditional coverage. The way they're administered and the way services are rendered is supposed to keep all participants' costs down.

Like most other things, that means you might wait longer or have to progress through a series of evaluations to receive a test or treatment that a PPO policy might cover right away. There are always trade-offs, and HMOs don't necessarily offer worse care, it's just delivered in a cheaper way.

Best of luck.
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Unread 10-31-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
33 posts, read 58,434 times
Reputation: 23
Thanks whynot! I am pretty new to the insurance thing. I was comparing the different plans, and it seems that the HMSA HMO covers more. I was confused because I have always heard bad things about HMOs, but wasn't really certain on how they work.
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Unread 10-31-2009, 04:50 PM
chs
 
26 posts, read 62,472 times
Reputation: 44
HMSA is a good insurer (from the docs viewpoint they pay quickly and at higher rates than most other insurer so nearly all docs accept them) However for certain things Kaiser is better stocked with docs while certain islands have a shortage of docs in certain specialities. For instance if you needed an ortho surgeon on Maui or on the Big Island, there just might not be one available at all except for the Kaiser ortho doc who, of course, only sees Kaiser patients. HMSA does, however, pay for interisland flights if you have to be sent to Honolulu b/c there is no doc on your island. Depends on your situation. And HMOs tend to be more economical if you know you will need some care (flat fee) whereas many other insurers have you pay 10% or more likely 20% of the cost until you hit the deductible. The health insurance game is a very complicated one which is why it is such a mess (or maybe vice versa) and all the people squawking with scare monger stories to try to prevent reform are just getting in the way.
Back in the 80s HMOs probably were worse than fee for service (care was capitated so doc didn't want to see you and got measly reimbursement which was deducted from every time you came to the office) but for many now, HMOs are actually a much cheaper/predictable way to get the same care. Trust me, you'd be amazed at how fast 20% of any procedure/hospital stay adds up.
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Unread 10-31-2009, 07:19 PM
 
253 posts, read 569,993 times
Reputation: 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by chs View Post
...HMSA does, however, pay for interisland flights if you have to be sent to Honolulu b/c there is no doc on your island.
As does Kaiser.
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Unread 06-15-2013, 11:10 PM
 
32 posts, read 17,636 times
Reputation: 57
I have been a Kaiser member for four decades. Their focus is on keeping members healthy. If you need a specialist, you get one. There is no long wait or committee making decisions. There is just you and your doctor, as it should be. I have had surgery with them a few times, (thyroid, gall bladder, skin). Co-pay each time was $20.00, not 20%.
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Unread 06-15-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
2,509 posts, read 5,065,240 times
Reputation: 2016
You might want to read the nearby thread Kaiser laying off 25% of its Registered Nurses at Hawaii Clinics
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