My employer's healthcare options are changing in 2014 from Carefirst BC/BS. We have options for the United Healthcare PPO or for Kaiser's HMO, the latter of which is more affordable and seems sufficient for me and my children who are (knock on wood) healthy-- generally only seeing the doctor once a year for check-ups.
It looks like UH is going to be comparable to BCBS (i.e. I can keep our current doctors as they all participate), so I'm looking to hear if anyone has used Kaiser, and what your thoughts are about their doctors/processes/services/facilities.
If you send your feedback to me offline, I'll be happy to collect it and resend out (and add to the wiki if i can figure that out).
We had a fabulous experience with Kaiser both here and in California.
Excellent doctors, facilities, and locations. I sorely miss their high quality and having everything under one roof now that we are on a different plan.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Sandra on Brisbane
Big fan of Kaiser; family (wife and 2 kids, now 22 and 20 yrs old) has used KP for about 20 years, including some major/expensive health issues.
Could list other upsides, w/the only downside being that when something is complicated and not easily identified, they can be tricky getting outside referrals/assistance. But particularly for folks in our neighborhood (w/Kensington ofc close-by), w/out any major ties to existing doctors, this is an outstanding choice.
Eric (on Sanford)
I do not have Kaiser, but a friend of ours just had a very bad experience with them. She had surgery and many post-surgery complications. When she finally got in to see a non-Kaiser doctor, he was appalled with some of the diagnoses/treatments of the Kasier doctors, which caused her complications and unnecessarily prolonged her recovery. Needless to say, she is no longer with Kaiser.
I just wanted to share her story with you as you make your decision.
Kyra on Alcan
I have worked at Kaiser for more than 20 years; the fact that I am still there should tell you something -- it is the BEST way to practice medicine, as far as I am concerned. The Kensington facility (closest to us) is relatively old, so they are beginning to make updates there. The Kaiser electronic record is fantastic; prescriptions, EKGs and xrays automatically go into the record, so that I can view xrays and consult with an orthopedist by telephone who can also view them remotely, and other such wonders. You can even join the email system and send photos of mysterious rashes your kids get, or whatever. AND -- most facilities have almost everything under one roof -- lab, xray, pharmacy, internal medicine, and some specialties. Which means you don't have to take your kid with the probably busted knee all over the place and back again for treatment. Kaiser has 3 ambulatory surgery centers, too. They have MRIs and CTs, and many centers are open evenings (some all night) and weekends for urgent needs. You can go to KP.ORG and look up a number of things about their facilities. If you join the email system, you can check your charts and your childrens' (up to certain ages) to see when your last tetanus shot was, or who that dude is who saw you last year for your eye exam. And you can send emails to your doctor about questions, labs, etc, and your doctor can alert you as well via that system.
If your doctor contacts you and says you need labs done, but you know you will have to be nearer another Kaiser facility that day, you can go there for your tests. Same thing with xrays.
Folks do complain about copays, but those are usually patients who have been members of Kaiser so long, they forget just how much it costs to simply walk through a doctor's door!
Let me know if you have specific questions. Your family sounds ideal for Kaiser.
I had Kaiser when I was a young, healthy, childless person and was always pleased with the ease of using their services. The quality of the care I received was fine.
On the flip side, I've had United HealthCare for several years now and they're slowly driving my husband and me mad. We are in our late 30s/early 40s and have the types of health issues people our age have - cholesterol, allergies, acid reflux - nothing major. Yet UHC seems to make everything hard, and nickels and dimes us to death.
We too were bumped by an employer from BC/BS to UHC.
One thing about Kaiser though - a close friend was diagnosed with brain cancer 11 months ago and was treated terribly by the head of Kaiser's cancer team for the DC Metro area. I mean appallingly bad treatment. Like e-mailing her the Friday before New Years with the news "we have to cancel your mastectomy on Monday because your scans show brain and bone cancer." And that wasn't the only problem.
Anyway - like you (and I), this friend was healthy and had healthy kids and didn't have any trouble with Kaiser until she really needed her healthcare team to step up. I don't know that this one anecdote would prevent me from going back to Kaiser, but I figure it's better to have as much info as possible.
Tracy, my wife and I have been on Kaiser for the past five years and have been nothing but pleased. All the doctors and staff at the Kensington facility (5 minute drive away) and the Gaithersburg facility have been simply fantastic. Yes, it is a bit of a pain initially selecting which primary doctor you want to see, but once that's set up making appointments, getting test results, and your full history are all easily accessible online. Having all the care under one roof is also a huge time saver and very convenient. I can go to my primary doctor, she can send me downstairs for an x-ray and blood work, and then I can go right back up to her office and review the results, and then pick up a prescription on the way out, all with no waiting and all within the hour. Their pharmacy is much less than CVS or the like and your scripts are filled immediately (without having to call or order elsewhere) and available to pick up on the way out the door.
I've unfortunately needed to use the KP Gaithersburg emergency room a few times and have had great service there too. Practically no waits and top of the line equipment and staff.
Now that my wife is pregnant, and we are going to her KP OB every other week and I have become all the more pleased with the service. All the prenatal care, delivery, and through age 1 are all free (no copay) and highly structured. By that I mean, they have a very detailed schedule of visits already lined up for us, including all visits, tests, ultrasounds, tours of the delivery hospital (Holy Cross), and so forth.
Initially we thought having such overall structured healthcare would be impersonal and bureaucratic, but it has been quite the opposite and far more convenient.
-Alex on Dublin
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