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Local health insurers score well on quality in latest national ratings

The three main insurers that serve the Buffalo Niagara market all received above-average scores in the latest annual ratings of health insurance companies by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The committee rated more than 1,000 plans for 2016-17 in three general categories — consumer satisfaction, prevention and treatment — on a scale from zero to five, with five indicating the highest performance.

The plan ratings, released Wednesday, focus on the results of the care delivered to health plan members and what patients say in surveys about their care, according to the committee.

The committee rated the insurers’ private plans, their Medicare plans – which serve senior citizens and the disabled – and their Medicaid plans, which serve people with low incomes.

In New York, 13 health plans, or 22 percent of the state’s plans, received a top rating of 4.5 or 5.0, ranking the state ninth in the country.

Locally, for the insurers’ private plans, Buffalo-based HealthNow New York, which operates here as BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, received 4.5 out of five.

Independent Health of Amherst received a 4.5 for both its HMO, or health maintenance organization, plan and its POS, or point of service plan. The committee reported partial data for Independent Health’s PPO, or preferred provider organization, plan.

Univera Healthcare of Amherst, part of Rochester’s Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, received a 4.0.

Nationally, the 503 commercial or private plans rated by the committee received an average score of 3.4.

For the insurers’ Medicare plans, Univera received a 4.5 for its HMO plan, HealthNow received a 4.0 for its HMO and PPO plans, and Independent Health also received a 4.0 for its HMO and PPO plans.

And for the insurers’ Medicaid plans, HealthNow received a 4.0 for its HMO and Independent Health received a 3.5 for its HMO. YourCare Health Plan, formerly Univera Community Health, which serves Western New Yorkers who are eligible for government-sponsored coverage and is run by Pittsford-based Monroe Plan for Medical Care, received a 3.0 rating for its HMO.

New York State Catholic Health Plan, which operates as Fidelis Care and has a major presence in Getzville, has no data reported, according to the committee.

The committee is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve health-care quality. For more information on the health insurer assessments, visit


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