UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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About Unity Health
Unity Health was created in 1994 with the merger of HMO of Wisconsin Insurance Corporation and U-Care HMO, Inc. Over the next decade, Unity Health would rank consistently among the 50 top HMO health plans according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and in 2005 became a wholly owned subsidiary of University Health Care and thus part of the UW Health family.
The 2016 collaboration between Unity Health and another local insurer, Gundersen Health Plan, led to the eventual move to the Quartz brand in 2017, which also includes Physician’s Plus and is connected with UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter. In mid-2017, Unity Health began operating under the Quartz brand, although they continue to be a separate legal entity.
The re-branding to Quartz and affiliation with the other major HMO insurers and health systems in the area allows Unity Health to offer a wider network of care to their current members and offers a new, comprehensive selection of plans to potential new members.
As of the time of this review, the agreements between the companies had been completed, but the re-branding and finalization of combine services were still in progress. Unity was the first to completely re-brand, and their plans are the basis for all Quartz offerings.
Unity Health/Quartz Plans
All of the Unity Health plans Plans through Quartz are HMO plans, offering coverage through a combination of all the affiliate health systems. These plans are available at four levels: Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
There is one catastrophic plan option – the Prime Catastrophic plan, with a $7,350 individual and $14,700 family deductible. Services, aside from preventative, are subject to the deductible, after which they are covered in full.
Five Bronze plans are available, three of which include an HSA. These plans each have different deductibles to choose from: $5,000, $6,000, and $6,550. One hundred percent coverage after the deductible is included with the two higher deductibles. The lower $5,000 deductible plan covers services at 80% after the deductible is met.
There are two other Bronze level plans to choose from without an HSA. The Deductible $6,500 plan has copays of $25 for primary care and generic prescriptions, and 40$ coinsurance for all other services after the deductible is met. The Bronze PCP Copay $35 plan has a $6,650 individual deductible. Primary care visits are covered with a $35 copay, and specialist visits have a $75 copay. Prescriptions start at $35 for Tier 1.
There are five choices at the Silver level. Two HSA plans are offered; the first has a $3,000 individual deductible and covers services at 70% after the deductible. The second has a higher $5,050 individual deductible, with all services covered at 100% after it is met.
The other three Silver plans are PCP Copay plans. The $7,100 individual plan is the highest deductible and has a primary care copay of $75 and specialist copay of $150. Prescriptions start at $15. The second option has a lower deductible, at $5,000 individual. There is a $35 primary care copay and a $75 specialist copay. Again, prescriptions start at $15. The lowest deductible at the Silver level is $3,000 individual, and this plan has a $30 primary care copay and $65 for specialists. This is the only plan that has a separate $500 pharmacy deductible, but prescription copays are lower and start at $15.
There is one Gold level HSA option. This plan has an individual deductible of $1,800 and pays most services at 90% when that is met. There are four other Gold level plans with varying deductibles and copays. Of all the Gold plans the highest deductible is at $3,500, with copays of $30 for primary care and $60 for specialists. The next highest deductible option is $2,900 individual, with the same copays at $30 for primary care and $60 for specialists. Both of these plans have prescription coverage starting at $10. There are two more plans; both have a $20 copay for primary care, and the deductibles are offered at $1,700 individual or $1,400 individual. The higher deductible also comes with a higher copay for specialist visits – $70 versus $50 – while prescriptions start at $5 versus $10.
Unity Health’s quotes are now run through the Quartz system, which has a relatively simple and basic online process.
We ran a sample quote for a 30-year-old in Dane County, where the company is headquartered. The cheapest rate was for the catastrophic plan, with a monthly premium of $245.84. Rates then climbed into the mid $300’s and all the way up to a monthly rate of $488.65 for the Prime Gold Standard plan – the most expensive our sample quote returned.
Considering the fact that all of these plans are HMO, with no out-of-network coverage, we found the rates to be high, even compared to other local HMOs. That said, the Quartz affiliation does offer a much wider network of care and more provider access, which may make up for some of the higher cost.
It is not clear on the website whether Unity Health will continue to handle claims separately, or whether Quartz will be setting up claims handling. It should not have much of an impact on current members, however, as HMO claims are generally handled internally.
It is possible that there may be some slow-down or confusion with provider claims from the new extended network under Quartz, but still unlikely that members will have to deal with these issues.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Not surprisingly, the re-branding to Quartz creates a certain amount of confusion when seeking out ratings. Quartz does not currently have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) page. We found a BBB page for Unity Health in Wisconsin, but it offers little clarification as to which company is referred to, with an address that does not match Unity’s corporate headquarters. This page lists one complaint in the past three years.
For 2017, Unity was given a 4.5 rating overall by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. In individual categories, however, consumer satisfaction rated only a 3.0 overall, with several low ratings for getting care.
There are 16 Google reviews for Unity, some of which were written after the re-branding to Quartz. A few are positive, but the majority of the reviews are negative. This includes one review that specifically states service has worsened under the Quartz brand.
It will likely take some time for the dust to settle before a clear picture emerges of how the new Quartz brand is performing.
The Bottom Line
Unity has had consistently good ratings over the years and has a solid history. They appear to have moved forward quickly with their new brand and affiliation, but time will still be needed to see how that pans out. Their rates are a bit high for an HMO, but they do offer a good network of care and a variety of plan choices. Unless things go downhill under the new brand, we anticipate that Unity/Quartz will likely remain a good choice for those who do not mind the limitations of an HMO.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.