Founded in 1945 and headquartered in Oakland, California, Kaiser Permanente is the biggest of the non-profit managed healthcare insurance providers in the nation. They offer a generous array of programs and services in nine states as well as the District of Columbia.
The company employs almost 150,000 and their network envelops nearly 13,000 physicians, 37 medical centers, as well as 400 doctor’s offices, which serve Kaiser Permanente’s nearly 9-million subscribers. In 2006, the company saw revenue of over $31-billion, which means they have the financial strength to back up their subscribers in any time of need.
Kaiser Permanente prides itself on catering to the needs of the members first rather than those of the shareholders. This plan is well known for its strong, social purpose and the lasting sense of cooperation that exists between the Health Plan and its medical groups. The physicians in the hospitals take responsibility for providing the clinical care the members need.
The mission of Kaiser Permanente is to improve the health of its members by providing them with an affordable, high quality, integrated healthcare program. Through an integrated system of delivering healthcare, it provides for all of the healthcare needs of its members, including preventative care, immunizations, emergency care, prescription drugs, and many others. In this way, every member’s needs can be met through this plan.
In addition to providing for the healthcare of its members, Kaiser Permanente performs many community activities. These include providing assistance to those people who may be uninsured and in need of medical attention. It is also involved in training new health professionals and in bringing new methods of delivery healthcare to the profession and is always trying to develop and share new and better ways of caring for its policyholders.
Kaiser costs less but cares least
don't get sick if you have Kaiser. It works as long as you're well: You'll get your flu shot, pap smear, etc. Just don't dare get sick, esp. on weekends. And they line people up like cattle: you're a number, not a person. And worst: caregivers NEVER wash their hands. You have to remind them! Every time, doctor, nurse, everyone. ICK!
Pleased with Kaiser
I reluctantly switched to Kaiser from Blue Shield PPO because they were less expensive and covered 100% after a $250 in-hospital payment. I have five children and one was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and another was born at a Kaiser hospital. My experiences with them have really been great. The facilities in Los Angeles are brand new, great young doctors and residents from UCLA and USC. Kaiser is VERY convenient for families with children as blood tests etc. is all under one roof. No running around trying to locate a specialist! Also, they have a great website where you can check your lab results, make appointments, and look for services. I really enjoyed this feature. One of the negatives would be that I didn't feel a personal connection with any of the doctors (not the ob/gyn, ped, or family doctor) that I previously had with Blue Shield. The exception would be the ped. endocrinologist who is very accessible anytime and very warm and caring). Most Kaiser doctors see a tremendous amount of patients so it is more difficult to build a relationship with them.
Doctors Push Cheap Meds
My mother has been sick for months now and the past three doctors she's been to (under the Kaiser network) have given her this medicine that has no affect on her at all. They tell her there's another medicine that is much more effective. Why not give her that, right? The doctors tell her they can't because Kaiser asks its doctors to ONLY push the cheap medicines, so they won't have to pay for the more expensive ones.
All I Get Is The Run-Around
I moved to Atlanta and was offered HMO thru KP. I get this Primary Care Doctor that has no interest in my well being. I was diagnosed with low testosterone 2 yrs ago and have been taking meds since. She prescribe me a patch without any blood work and referred me to urology. 4 months later I finally get appointment with urology. During my 5 min appointment, I was told to get blood work in the morning. Results came in a week later, very low level with the patch! The urologist was out until Monday and now I have to make another appointment with internal medicine (another co-pay) to get the order. It may be a low cost health plan, but you end of paying later for poor quality care. Now, $150 in Co-pays and 4 months later I finally get an order for something I knew I needed a long time ago.
Unfortunately Kaiser forces you to go to their pharmacy. The pharmacist and staff are well aware of this and treat their patients very poorly. You would be better off paying out of pocket somewhere else, which I now do for lower cost drugs too.
Kaiser Is the Best
Kaiser is outstanding. If my Kaiser dermatologist wants to do a biopsy and treat my skin cancer, he does it all at the first visit! Compare that to Blue Cross or Cigna where I have see my primary care doc, then get a referral, then see the dermatologist who then says that he needs to get authorized to biopsy the lesion, then come back in a month (if I can get a follow up apt) and get the biopsy, and finally get the skin cancer treated on the fourth visit.
Provide No Information to the Customers
I own a business and recently switched to Kaiser for mine and my employees' medical insurance. Kaiser did not send any information about how to access account to the members. I, the group admin, had to send multiple emails to get the membership id information. However, when it came to billing, the first month premium was immediately charged to my account. The members were not able to avail any health care services for one month because they did not have any clue about how to take an appointment with the doctors. There is no way to contact them outside business hours, not even to make payments! There is just one phone number for customer support and that too has very restrictive hours which makes it hard for someone with a full-time job. I did not get any information about how to set up account for online access. Neither did I get information about how and where to send payments. The notification of the first bill came on two days after the bill was due! How is anyone supposed to know that the bill is already due if the notification comes later than the due date? There is no way to reset password online for group administrators. You can't even check for email responses without logging in! This is too much restriction in the name of security. This is so ironic because when I called an operator reset my password and told me the password over phone! What kind of security is this when you can't reset my password online and a live person can just speak out the password over the phone! The website is really very difficult to use. The navigation controls are tedious and non-intuitive. It is very slow and does not provide information about how to pay bills.
Low cost, great coverage and service
I have had Kaiser for four years now and it is absolutely the best health insurance I have ever had. The cost is phenomenally low and the co-pays are very reasonable.
Lack of Information
I am new member to Kaiser Permanente and I did not know that in order to get information on a prescription you had to request it. I left my prescription over the weekend of 12/7 because Kaiser Permanente did not carry the brand I needed. When I received the medication there was no information about the new medication. I was confused because there were 3 medications in the bag when I had given them 2 prescriptions. Tuesday morning I looked up the medication on the internet and learned that two of the medications were for hypertension, one a ACE inhibitor and the other a calcium channel blocker. I was given the two medication because my prescription had no generic and was a combination of 2 effective blood pressure medication in 1 capsule. When I call the pharmacy to inquire why I was not given any information about the new medication, I was told I had to request the information because the person filing the prescription does not know that it is a new prescription.
Feels like an assembly line
I have had a chronic cough for about 6 weeks. I saw a doctor at KP about a month ago and she seemed to think it was nothing more than a cold. A couple of days ago, I started developing chest pains. Then today, at work, I became feverish and extremely short of breath. This was all especially alarming since I got back from volunteering in Africa about a month ago and I was with a population where pneumonia prevalence was quite high. I immediately called KP to make a second appointment. The only appointment that was available was at a clinic which was 10 miles away. With traffic being heavy, i was too late for my appointment to be seen. Given the nature of my symptoms, I feel they should have referred me to a clinic that was close to where I was. I am now waiting for a call from a nurse to be referred to urgent care, and I realize that since KP has such limited choices, I have to either sit here and wait for clearance to go to urgent care or I have to pay out-of-pocket at the emergency room.