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About Dean Health Plan
Dean Health Group traces its roots back to 1904, when Dr. Joseph Dean opened his first clinic in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1929, Joseph Dean, along with his brother Dr. James Dean and other partners formed Dean Corporation. The new corporation opened the first Dean Clinic. The Deans and their partners continued their work through the Great Depression, opening a free clinic at the local hospital. The clinics continued to be a family business, with the sons of both Dean doctors taking on roles as doctors. The last Dean doctor retired in 1979.
Through connections and referrals to other Wisconsin doctors, the Dean Clinic began to spread its reputation throughout the region. By the time the last Dean retired, the Clinic was a large, multi-specialty clinic serving a wide area. In 1982, Dean Clinic merged with the East Madison Clinic, forming two divisions of Dean Medical Clinic.
One year later the clinic created DeanCare, an HMO health plan. The rest of the decade marked continued expansion and opening of new clinics and specialty centers. In 1995 Dean Health System was formed, moving from physician owned and run to a for-profit shareholder model. Profits were invested in infrastructure and equipment.
In 2013, Dean Health System was purchased by SSM Health, one of the biggest Catholic health systems in the country. Today the health plans offered by Dean provide care at a large network of clinics, hospitals, and specialty centers, serving more than 400,000 members in south-central Wisconsin.
The company offers a range of health plan choices including Medicare Advantage.
Dean Health Plan has three Dean Advantage Medicare Advantage plans to choose from. All three of the plans come with Part D Prescription Drug coverage included. While all three plans are also HMO – providing care through the Dean network – the Confidence plan also offers out-of-network coverage when traveling.
The Assurance Plan is Dean’s most affordable Advantage plan, with the lowest monthly premium and the highest out-of-pocket maximums. There is a $10 co pay for office visits and $40 for specialist visits and urgent care. Emergency services have a $75 co pay.
Inpatient hospital care has a $300 co pay for the first five days, and nothing thereafter. Coverage includes vision and hearing as well as limited dental services. Prescription drugs are covered with a $400 deductible on Tiers 3-5. Co pays start at $4 for Tier 1 drugs. Tier 2 is $14, Tier 3 $47, Tier 4 $100 and Tier 5 25% coinsurance.
The Dean Advantage Balance Plan has the same co pays for primary and specialist visits, at $10 and $40 respectively, as well as the same for Urgent Care and Emergency – but a lower out-of-pocket maximum. The per-day co pay for inpatient hospital is $250 for the first five days. Like the Assurance plan, vision and hearing services are covered, as well as limited dental services.
The Balance plan has generally lower prescription drug co pays and a lower, $300 deductible on Tiers 3-5. Tiers 1 and 2 have lower co pays at $3 and $10 respectively, but the remaining Tiers are the same except Tier 5, which has a slightly higher 27% coinsurance.
The Dean Advantage Confidence Plan offers the broadest coverage, with HMO coverage locally and POS options for travel out of network. It has a lower out-of-pocket in-network than any other plan, but a higher limit for POS services.
Co pays for this plan differ as well based in in-network or out. The office visit co pay in-network is zero, with specialist visits at $20. Out of network office visits have a $30 co pay and specialist visits a $60 co pay. There is a flat single co pay of $500 for inpatient hospital stays in-network, and $500 per day for the first three days. Emergency care has a $75 co pay and Urgent Care $40 whether in or out of network.
Like all of the plans, hearing and vision services are covered with limited dental – co pays differ in and out of network. There is no deductible for prescription drugs with this plan. The co pays are similar to the Balance plan, with the two differences being a $8 co pay for Tier 2 and 33% coinsurance for Tier 5.
Dean lists the rates for their plans clearly on their website, with no need to fill out a form, and has quick comparison charts as well. Medicare Advantage premiums are on top of what you pay for Original Medicare, and often offer a lot more benefits.
The Assurance Plan has a $27 a month premium, the Balance Plan $85 a month, and the Confidence Plan $180. The high cost on the Confidence Plan reflects the extended benefits outside of the HMO network, allowing greater physician choice and coverage when traveling.
Since Dean only offers coverage in Wisconsin, we are unable to compare their rates to our usual sample or against national companies, however, these rates do fall in line with the averages we see in other locations.
Ratings and Reviews
Dean Health Plan, Inc. currently has a B+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Although there are only a total of four complaints in the past three years, and only two in the past 12 months, the BBB reduced the company’s rating for one complaint that was not resolved. Since the health plan is HMO, it’s worth a look at the BBB file on Dean Health Systems, which provides the care. That company has an A- rating, with ten complaints in the past three years. None of those complaints were closed in the past 12 months.
Aside from the BBB, we did not find much else in the way of reviews or complaints about Dean Health Plans. This is likely, in part, due to the local nature of the company.
The Bottom Line
Dean Health has a very long history in the communities it serves, which is likely to appeal to many. If you are comfortable with an HMO – or with paying extra for a plan offering extended POS services, they are a good choice. They have a large, extensive network and a great deal of experience, as well as good plan selection and pricing – making them a solid choice in regional health systems.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.