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In 1994 the University of Arkansas for Medical Science established QualChoice as a third-party administrator, but soon converted to operations as a full-service health insurance provider. Policies include individual HMO and PPO plans for individuals and as corporate benefits.
In 2009 QualChoice acquired Community Bank Life, and the newly merged company became QualChoice Life and Health Insurance Company, Inc. The company then formed QualChoice Holdings as a parent company the following year.
QualChoice itself was acquired in April of 2014 by Catholic Health Systems (CHI), the country’s biggest nonprofit health system. Since 2016 it has been reported that CHI is making efforts to sell the company, but as of the writing of this review, they remain QualChoice’s parent company.
As of the end of 2018, QualChoice will no longer be writing Medicare Advantage plans. Although it is not made explicit, this may be related to the plans to sell off the company either as a whole or in parts. Medicare Supplement plans are still available, although new policies are not being written in some counties, only renewals.
QualChoice Medicare Products
MediQ65 is QualChoice’s Medicare Supplement plan. Although they brand the plans with their own name, the choices are based on the letter-coded standard plans that are written in most states.
MediQ65 options are Plans A, F, F with a high deductible, G, K, and N. That is about half of the available letter-coded plans; there are a total of 11. Insurance companies can choose which of the plans they want to offer, although they are required to write Plan A which is the most basic plan.
Plan A pays for the coinsurance amounts that are not covered by Original Medicare, and also covers three pints of blood each year.
Plan F offers the most coverage available, and it pays for all of the out-of-pocket costs that Medicare does not cover. That makes it the most expensive plan in most cases, which is the reason for the high deductible option. The deductible amount allows for a lower monthly premium with a set out-of-pocket costs that can be planned for, and full coverage thereafter in the event of a major medical incident.
Of the other plans offered by QualChoice, both plans N and K are more budget-friendly due to copays and lower coverage percentages. Each also has an out of pocket maximum for catastrophic events.
QualChoice has an easy rate chart that offers the current premiums for 2018; 2019 rates are not yet available.
Plan A has a monthly cost of $123.44. The least expensive option is the high deductible Plan F at $61.50 a month, with Plan K a close second at $68.48.
Since these rates are only for the state of Arkansas and only for the counties listed on the chart, we are unable to offer a real comparison to other companies. The rates compare fairly favorably to what we have seen in other states, but they can only really be useful when compared to other Arkansas insurers.
Claims information is not available online for the QualChoice Medicare Supplement plans, which is not unusual for this type of insurance.
Claims are generally handled directly with the provider, and in most cases, the insured is not required to file anything.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
QualChoice has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), having been docked slightly for failure to respond to one complaint. Outside of that one, there have been only three complaints closed in the past three years.
Elsewhere, we found three negative reviews of the company on Yelp, for a one-star rating overall. The complaints are in regards to premium increases and coverage issues.
Overall, there is really very little in the way of customer reviews for this company out there, and none of the reviews we saw pertained directly to Medicare coverage.
The Bottom Line
QualChoice has a handful of Medicare Supplement plans available, but the fact that they are only writing new business in some counties and have moved out of the Advantage market may be a sign that they will not be writing this coverage in the future. We did not notice any red flags for this company, and their rates seem reasonable, but the uncertain future due to the efforts to sell off the company may be cause for hesitation.
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