WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Health plan members who individually purchase their plans or work for small employers are considerably less satisfied with their health plan experience, compared with health plan members who work for larger organizations, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Health Insurance Plan Study(SM) released today.
Now in its third year, the study measures member satisfaction among 131 health plans in 17 regions throughout the United States by examining seven key factors: coverage and benefits; provider choice; information and communication; claims processing; statements; customer service; and approval processes.
The study finds that health plan members working for small employers (50 employees or fewer) are less likely to be satisfied with their health plan than those working for larger organizations. Satisfaction among members working for small employer groups averages 692 on a 1,000-point scale, while members of health plans sponsored by large employers (501-5,000 employees) and jumbo employers (more than 5,000 employees) have satisfaction levels averaging 717 and 725, respectively. Health plan members working for larger organizations are also more likely to re-enroll and recommend their plan to others, compared with members working for small employers.
Satisfaction among individual purchasers, which account for 9 percent of health plan members, is comparable to that among members of plans sponsored by small employers, averaging 694 points. Likewise, among individual purchasers, likelihood to re-enroll, recommend and purchase other products is lower compared with members working for larger organizations.
"As unemployment rates rise across the nation, more members are moving to individual health plans from employer-sponsored plans," said Jim Dougherty, executive director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "By more effectively managing the member experience for this growing segment of members, health plans could reap considerable financial benefits through increased retention and recommendations, and prepare themselves for the anticipated healthcare reform measures facing the industry, which are likely to drive additional enrollment among previously uncovered individuals and small employers."
Health plans ranking highest in their respective regions are (in alphabetical order): Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky; BlueCross and BlueShield of Alabama (these two plans tie in the East South Central region); BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona; BlueCross BlueShield of Florida; BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois; BlueCross BlueShield of Nebraska; Dean Health Insurance; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Health Alliance Plan (HAP); Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield; HIP Health Plan of New York; Humana (which ranks highest in the South Atlantic and Texas regions); Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (which ranks highest in the California, Colorado, Northwest and Virginia-Maryland regions); and Medical Mutual of Ohio.
The study also finds that--while satisfaction levels have increased significantly from 2008 in the New England, South Atlantic, California, Arizona-Utah and Illinois-Indiana regions--health plan members in the New England, Michigan, Pennsylvania-Delaware, California and South Atlantic regions are the most satisfied overall.
"Across the industry, satisfaction with health plans remains fairly stable, increasing only slightly compared to 2008," said Dougherty. "Members still tend to be least satisfied with the information and communications they receive from their health plan--the third-most-important factor in overall satisfaction. Consequently, improving member communications can go a long way in driving higher levels of overall member satisfaction--particularly since only one-third of members say they fully understand how their health plans work."
The 2009 National Health Insurance Plan Study includes responses from more than 33,000 members of commercial health plans. Members were surveyed online in December 2008 and January 2009. For more comprehensive health plan rankings for all 17 U.S. markets, visit www.jdpower.com.
Regions Included in National Health Insurance Plan Study Arizona-Utah California Colorado East South Central (includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee) Florida Heartland (includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) Illinois-Indiana Michigan Minnesota-Wisconsin New England (includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) New York-New Jersey Northwest (includes Idaho, Oregon and Washington) Ohio Pennsylvania-Delaware South Atlantic (includes Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina) Texas Virginia-Maryland
Top Three Plans in Overall Member Satisfaction by Region Arizona-Utah* Highest: BlueCross BlueShield of Arizona SelectHealth California* Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Colorado* Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan East South Central Highest: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky (tie) Highest: BlueCross Blue Shield of Alabama (tie) CIGNA Florida Highest: BlueCross BlueShield of Florida Humana UnitedHealthcare Heartland Highest: BlueCross BlueShield of Nebraska BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas Wellmark BlueCross BlueShield of Iowa Illinois-Indiana Highest: BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Indiana Humana Michigan* Highest: Health Alliance Plan (HAP) BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan Minnesota-Wisconsin Highest: Dean Health Insurance HealthPartners BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota New England Highest: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut Tufts Associated Health Plans New York-New Jersey Highest: HIP Health Plan Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Empire BlueCross BlueShield Northwest Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Group Health Cooperative Providence Health Plan Ohio Highest: Medical Mutual of Ohio Humana Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio Pennsylvania-Delaware Highest: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Highmark Blue Shield Capital BlueCross South Atlantic Highest: Humana UnitedHealthcare BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina Texas Highest: Humana CIGNA Aetna Virginia-Maryland Highest: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan CIGNA CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield *No other plan in this region performs above the region average.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
Media Relations Contacts:
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate
|SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates|
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved