Nationwide, 60% of HMO enrollees are highly satisfied with their health plans, although approval ratings of individual plans range as low as 45%, according to the 1996 CareData Annual Health Plan Member Survey.
Sixty-seven percent of enrollees are highly satisfied with the quality of their medical care, but only 52% are happy with customer service and plan administration.
The study of 23,000 enrollees, conducted from June to September this year, included 13 regional surveys and involved the assistance of more than 124 large employers. Respondents belonged to HMOs and point-of-service plans.
Satisfaction ranged from 71% of enrollees highly satisfied in the Boston metropolitan area to 52% in South Florida.
Satisfaction with choice of primary-care physician, ability to obtain referrals to specialists and customer service also varied widely.
But more than 70% of respondents said they were highly satisfied with their specialists and pharmacy benefits.
Nationwide, 10% said they wouldn't recommend their health plan.
Slightly more than half of women enrollees said they were reminded to seek mammograms and Pap smears; 81% of parents received reminders for their children's vaccinations. Fewer than 30% of applicable enrollees were reminded to be screened for osteoporosis and colon cancer.
Since 1994, the percentage of enrollees in the New York market who are highly satisfied with their HMOs increased 9%. "Competition seems to have raised the bar in New York, and health plans are jumping higher to succeed," said Todd Cooperman, M.D., president of CareData Reports, a managed-care consumer research firm based in New York.
"While consumer satisfaction with managed care may be improving, much variation still exists across plans, and many opportunities for improvement remain," Cooperman said.