Member satisfaction with a health plan depends greatly on whether the members preferred hospital is included in the network, according to a study by J.D. Power and Associates.
The third annual consumer survey of 131 health plans in 17 regions nationwide found that people enrolled in individual and small-business plans were less satisfied than those who get health benefits through large employers. Individual and small business plans often have smaller provider networks. If I want to use a certain hospital and its not part of the network, boy am I miffed at my health plan, said Jim Dougherty, executive director of the healthcare practice at J.D. Power.
The highest-rated plans included Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan and Medical Mutual of Ohio. Some Blues plans rated highest in their region, while others rated low. Humana ranked highest in several regions, but other national plans such as Aetna and UnitedHealth Group rated poorly, according to the Web-based survey of 33,000 people.
With rising unemployment and a focus on reforming the individual and small-business insurance market, health plans need to do a better job of communicating with members to raise satisfaction, Dougherty said.