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Providers continue to distrust insurers

Lack of trust could stifle value-based initiatives, ReviveHealth and athenahealth find

Providers don't trust insurers, according to two separate surveys from athenahealth and ReviveHealth, and that distrust could stifle value-based initiatives as well as other cost-saving and quality-improving programs that payers and providers increasingly try to implement. 

Providers' trust of insurers has decreased, as almost all of the major insurers saw slight drops in their trust factor compared to last year. Providers said they feel insurers take advantage of them, and they're skeptical about insurers' ability to honor commitments, ReviveHealth's survey found. If insurers want to play a more central role in population health management, they must consider the provider contracting process as a partnership, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

ReviveHealth also found that providers consider Cigna to be the most trusted insurance company with a 62.7 score (out of 100). UnitedHealth was the least trustworthy insurer with a score of 40. Insurers' average score for trustworthiness was 51.8.

"As the healthcare system transitions to more complex, value-based payment models, building on payers' operational success and improving transparency is essential to gaining provider trust and making collaboration possible," ReviveHealth CEO Brandon Edwards said in a joint statement with athenahealth. "At a time when payers and providers are seeking new, untested partnerships and arrangements that require them to communicate with one another, trust is not always there."

In its separate survey, athenahealth found that Humana has the best overall performance among major payers, followed by Aetna and Cigna.

"We see that payer performance improved overall yet still might not be enough to fully support provider relationships and success amidst continued industry transformation," athenahealth Chief Medical Officer Todd Rothenhaus said in the statement. "As providers increasingly take part in risk-sharing models and navigate big changes such as ICD-10, finding payer partners that have strong core operations and are differentiated on performance and transparency will be key."

To learn more:
- access the ReviveHealth survey
- read the athenahealth survey
- see the joint statement

Related Articles:
Payers positioned to lead alternative payment model transformation
Payer-provider collaboration essential for improving population health
How a payer-provider joint venture is lowering costs
Survey: Docs report rocky relationship with payers