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National Committee for Quality Assurance

The National Committee for Quality Assurance, NCQA, is a non-profit organization that recognizes health plans and doctors who perform high quality healthcare consistently. In conjunction with various large employers, NCQA is trying to improve the quality of care delivered. Healthcare quality varies so greatly that annually tens of thousands deaths could have been avoided if all health insurance plans provided the care done by the top 10 percent.

Why You Should Care

NCQA also lists doctors who give high quality care. These are doctors who consistently do the right things based on the latest research and recommendations in areas of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and back pain. Patients who patronize these doctors will be healthier and more likely to avoid premature death.

Although healthcare has improved over the past decade that NCQA started its reporting, a large number of health insurance plans have not submitted any performance information. In a 2007 report, about 100 million Americans, or nearly one out of three with health insurance, had health plans that didn’t give NCQA any data on how they did with basic measures like high blood pressure control, mammogram screening rates, diabetes care, and vaccination rates. Plans that are mainly affected are the preferred provider organization plans or PPOs, which are the most popular type of health plan among Americans.

A visit to the NCQA website is a must for all patients when trying to select a health insurance plan and a doctor. There is a real difference between what different health plans and doctors do to keep you well. You take plenty of time researching for a new car, wouldn’t you do the same for your health? You don’t necessarily want to look for discount national healthcare, just take the time to explore the options out there.

Find out more about NCQA and other vital information in Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely: Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System.

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