PacifiCare Health Systems has underwritten a survey by Yankelovich Partners aimed at finding out why Americans are satisfied or dissatisfied with their health plans.
The Cypress, Calif.-based HMO has a powerful motivation to act on the results of that survey of 1,458 insured people. In its latest contract with the California Public Employees Retirement System, PacifiCare agreed to tie a portion of its executives' compensation to enrollee satisfaction for three years.
The survey results, released by Yankelovich last week, also confirmed for PacifiCare that those enrollees who felt knowledgeable about their health plan were almost twice as likely to be highly satisfied with their coverage than those who didn't-54% compared with 33%.
"We had a notion that if you knew how your plan worked you'd be happier," said PacifiCare spokeswoman Susan Whyte Simon.
Armed with that proof, PacifiCare also has underwritten the creation of easy-to-read educational materials for consumers by Consumer Action, a national consumer advocacy group based in San Francisco. Getting a consumer group to buy into the project is something of a coup, considering such groups have blasted managed care.
Simon said enrollees need information "from the plan, from physicians and from third parties they believe are credible," which is why PacifiCare teamed up with Consumer Action.
The PacifiCare-sponsored survey found that almost 75% of those polled felt "there is something seriously wrong" with the nation's healthcare system, and 55% said they believed the quality of healthcare services has declined. Yet 85% of the respondents said they were satisfied with their plan (See related story, p. 48).