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    Wellpoint ranked worst health insurance company in hospital survey

    Wellpoint took last place in a controversial survey of hospital executives’ opinions of big health insurance companies.

    The Indianapolis, Indiana-based insurer claimed the dubious honor due to “how difficult the company is to deal with,” according to ReViveHealth, a communications company that works with hospitals and sponsors the annual survey.

    “Wellpoint has earned its bottom spot in the 2012 survey this year through aggressive behavior with hospitals all over the country,” ReViveHealth said in a statement.

    Survey respondents–typically hospital executives who negotiate managed care contracts–were asked to rank big insurance companies in more than a dozen categories, such as reputation, contract negotiation tactics, and claims processing issues.

    The survey was sent to every hospital system in the United States and was completed by about 400 respondents, representing about 35% of U.S. hospitals.

    Insurance companies didn’t take kindly to the annual survey, blasting it as unscientific, biased, and designed to curry favor with potential clients for ReViveHealth.

    “We believe the Revive survey is inherently flawed and without merit,” a Wellpoint spokeswoman told Kaiser Health News.

    Independent, nonprofit BlueCross plans were ranked the worst for payment rates for the second consecutive year, but the survey wasn’t all about how much hospitals are getting paid.

    UnitedHealth ranked last in several non-rate categories, such as prompt payment of claims, honesty and candor in negotiations, and claims denials.

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s chief medical officer dismissed the survey as public relations spin from a public relations firm.

    “This survey is merely another tactic aimed [at] boosting payments for Revive’s clients without regard to the impact this has on millions of Americans who want and deserve affordable healthcare,” he said.

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