|J.D. Power Ranks Health Plan
Member Satisfaction By Region 2.7 Million
Health plan performance varies widely among some
insurers across the U.S., yet contacting plan members regularly and
increasing their understanding of plan details can lead to more
consistent and positive satisfaction ratings, more renewal business and
additional sales of services to members, according to the J.D. Power
and Associates 2008 National Health Insurance Plan Study.
J.D. Power said the study, now in its second year,
measures member satisfaction among 107 health plans in 17 regions
throughout the U.S. by examining seven factors: coverage and benefits;
choice of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies; information and
communication; approval processes; claims processing; insurance
statements; and customer service.
The study found that the majority of health plan
members rate their insurer lowest for the communications and
information that are provided to help them understand their plan. Only
45 percent of members reported they fully understand how to use their
health insurance coverage and member services.
Enhancing member understanding with critical plan
details — such as prescription coverage, co-pays, how to
locate physicians and how to appeal coverage denials — can
lead to higher satisfaction ratings for insurers, according to J.D.
"Health insurer performance fluctuates greatly
— even among different regional plans from the same insurance
company — and this lack of service consistency can present a
real challenge for human resources executives attempting to select the
best health benefits for their employees working in multiple regions
across the country," said Jim Dougherty, executive director of the
healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates.
"With increasing healthcare costs and an aging
workforce that needs additional services, businesses have less and less
tolerance for insurers that aren’t consistently engaging
members and helping them manage their own healthcare and the associated
costs. However, we find that those plan members who are most engaged by
their insurer through effective communication better understand how to
use their plans and have particularly high satisfaction levels. Those
higher satisfaction scores translate into better retention rates and
more positive recommendations for the plan," he said.
According to the study results, the organizations
with the highest ranked customer satisfaction index score on a scale of
1,000 points by region are:
BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona: 763
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of California: 755
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado: 748
East South Central Region
BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama: 759
BlueCross BlueShield of Florida: 751
(ranked highest for the second consecutive year.)
Wellmark BlueCross BlueShield of Iowa: 742
BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois: 729
Health Alliance Plan of Michigan: 772
New England Region
Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of Connecticut: 772
United Healthcare (New Jersey/New York): 749
Group Health Cooperative: 778
Humana of Ohio: 748.
Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield: 784 (the
highest score across all regions included in the study.)
South Atlantic Region
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia: 746
Humana of Texas: 753
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield: 740
Address: J.D. Power and Associates, 2625 Townsgate
Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91361; (800) 274-5372, www.jdpower.com.