Nation's Largest Insurance Company to Allow Consumers to Rate Doctor Experiences

The nation's largest insurance company is giving consumers the opportunity to rate their physician experiences.

WellPoint Inc. has teamed up with Zagat Survey to launch a new online tool that also will allow consumers to share their physician experiences with others.

The insurance company will begin to offer the online survey to select members in its Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield licensed subsidiaries in January 2008.

"Zagat Survey has a reputation for being the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play," said Angela F. Braly, president and CEO of WellPoint, in a news release. "Our partnership will enable WellPoint to capitalize on Zagat's methodology to benefit the health care industry, and will help WellPoint harness the power of the nearly 35 million members in its health plan subsidiaries to share and learn from their experiences with their doctors."

The online survey tool will allow consumers to review their doctor visits based on four criteria: trust, communication, availability and environment. Consumers also will rate their physicians using Zagat's 30-point scale.

"Peer-to-peer interactions are a critical component of our consumer engagement strategy," said Jason Gorevic, WellPoint's chief marketing and product officer.

The survey will also feature a comments section allowing members to expand on their ratings. Results will be available free of charge to members on their health plans' Web sites.

For each network physician, the online entry will display contact information, ratings on a 30-point scale for each of the four categories and the percentage of members who recommend that physician. The most recent comments will be displayed first and members will have the option to rate the usefulness of comments and report suspicious comments.