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Opinions on GroupHealth in WA
Old 01-12-2016, 03:40 PM   #1
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Opinions on GroupHealth in WA

Even though I have now signed up for Grouphealth (GH) under the ACA, I still have the option of retaining my BCBS coverage under a Cobra plan.

I've seen some unflattering reviews of GH online, including some assertions that procedures were added to doctor visits that weren't considered to be included in the visit fee (in one case sinus check for $800 that took one minute according to the patient-reviewer).

Thus, before irrevocably ending my Cobra coverage in favor of GH, I am soliciting feedback from people on the board who have had GH coverage for a year or more regarding you experiences, and whether you would recommend GH as a insurance plan and as a provider (GH has health centers that it completely owns and runs).

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:06 PM   #2
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Location: Small town outside of Seattle
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Well 'we' have GroupHealth and so far I haven't really had any issues with it, but keep in mind I see my doctor once a year at most as I am in excellent health. My wife however has MS and we were worried about the transition. It overall has gone smoothly but has had it's ups and downs to be sure. She could speak more directly towards that but even then, overall I think she is happy. Hers had more to do with trying to keep her old neurologist whereas in GroupHealth they are going to try and direct you to one of the in house doctors if they can. But I just asked her and she said overall she was happy with them.

I do like how efficient they are--I will give them that! I have never waited more than 5 minutes at any of their facilities. My appointment is at 9, I get there and usually am seen between 9 and 9:05. So no complaints about that aspect.

The only negative I have had, and given how most insurance companies are about this, it might not be a negative--is when I got a shingles shot. I was only 55 at the time and so they wouldn't cover it. But they gave it to me and allowed me to pay for it.

So for us it turned out fine and they are local (our old doctors were all in Seattle proper and we live out in the sticks of Kitsap County). So good luck!
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:07 PM   #3
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Oh I should add we are on GroupHealth under Cobra. We have until June I think before we drop the Cobra and pay direct.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:30 PM   #4
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I've had GH in Washington for about 15 years and never had any problems.
My most serious medical issues have been kidney stones involving multiple hospital and doctor visits but never surgery.
GH just merged with Kaiser.
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:40 PM   #5
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We have had GH since April of last year through the ACA. We bought an HSA plan, and we are both generally healthy, although I take 3 medications that I pay cash for at Fred Meyer. Neither DH nor I have received any care at all. because I was concerned about what would/wouldn't be covered I waited until this month to schedule appts that "should" be covered under preventative care. This week I have a mammogram and next week a physical. After reading some information on their website about what is and what isn't covered during a preventative visit I am concerned that the new PCP won't renew my 3 cheap meds that I have been on for years and that I pay cash for. I will be really annoyed if my visit isn't covered because of this. I'm kind of wondering if we were penny wise and pound foolish by choosing this plan.

Where did you find the online reviews?
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:14 PM   #6
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Thanks Pullmyfinger.

I have found reviews two main ways so far. First, if you enter [grouphealth -LOCATION- (use the location of your choice)], the right side of the google results page usually (well, it does on my computer) includes a review summary.

I also just searched for 'grouphealth reviews' and got many results, including one from Yelp. Below I've pasted one review for the Olympia facility, and two for the Tacoma South facility.

So far, it seems as though my Cobra plan has higher guaranteed monthly premiums, but a more tightly bounded range of possible expenses, and a minimum of surprises. On the other hand, my GH ACA plan has lower monthly premiums, but a higher possibility of incurring unexpected costs.


Review of facility in Olympia:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...7554f4339192,1,,

Reviews (google and yelp) of facility in south Tacoma:

Review straight from Google:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...7d9f4880bb0e,1,,

From Yelp:

Group Health Cooperative - Tacoma South Medical Center - Medical Centers - Tacoma, WA - Reviews - Photos - Yelp
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:17 PM   #7
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I'm also considering GH, so this is helpful. Switching to ACA later this year and keeping my current doc requires a plan that costs $1000/yr more in premiums than GH.

I really like my doc, but ouch to that.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:41 PM   #8
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We have Group Health. Seems quick and easy with good facilities but only go every few years for routine maintenance. My plan also covers going outside group health if I ever have something serious.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortInSeattle View Post
I'm also considering GH, so this is helpful. Switching to ACA later this year and keeping my current doc requires a plan that costs $1000/yr more in premiums than GH.

I really like my doc, but ouch to that.
Is GH the ACA plan you're considering, or the non-ACA plan that costs more?

If the more expensive plan is the non-aca plan that allows you to keep your current doctor, have you compared that $1000 in extra premiums to the additional fees you could pay under the ACA because of the deductible and the money you could pay, prior to exhausting the Out Of Pocket Maximum for the year?
I have found the financial comparison between the ACA-GH plan and my BCBS-cobra plan to be more complicated than merely comparing the premium amounts.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:28 PM   #10
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I was on Kaiser NW when we moved to Bainbridge Island, Group Health picked us up as patients. Shortly after GH closed their Bainbridge Island clinic so selected another insurer at open season.

GH is well regarded in Seattle Metro but as a Kitsap County resident I would want to find out where the health care providers I would use are located.

GH had financial problems ~ 15 years ago, Kaiser took over their administration for a year or two. Now Kaiser is absorbing their system. We are back on Kaiser NW in Portland and have no issues, several in my circle also are Kaiser patients - no complaints but Kaiser has 2 hospitals and many clinics in the metro area.

The core question for Kitsap County GH/Kaiser members is the location of health care providers. Evidently GH is using contracted hospitals. Harrison in Bremerton is fine for most needs but it doesn't compare to Virginia Mason or Swedish. Trauma care is at Harborview.

BI fire department provides ambulance service but many buy Life Flight for transport when time is critical.
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