May 31, 2017

Study: CT consumers not as satisfied with their health plans

Consumers in a Northeast region that includes Connecticut were among the least satisfied with their health plans, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Member Health Plan Survey released today.

Other states in the region include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Satisfaction is highest among health plan members in five regions: Maryland (723); East South Central (722); California (716); Michigan (716); and Ohio (714). Satisfaction is lowest among members in the Colorado (676) and Northeast (682) regions.

The study is based on responses from 33,624 commercial health plan members in first quarter of 2017.

Coordination of care among healthcare providers is the single most important criteria influencing member satisfaction with their health plan, the study says.

Key findings of the study, according to a J.D. Power are that:

- Close coordination is lacking among health plans and providers: The single most effective lever of health plan member satisfaction is helpful coordination of care among doctors and other healthcare providers.

- Integrated delivery systems dominate rankings: Health plans that utilize an integrated delivery system (IDS) — a network of healthcare and health insurance organizations presented to members as a single delivery organization — outperform traditional health plans on every factor measured in the study.

- Presenting low-cost narrow network options improves satisfaction: Although having access to a limited network of care providers can potentially become a friction point for members, health plans that have a narrow or tiered network also have the potential to reduce costs for commercial health plan members. Regardless of product choice, members who were presented with lower-cost narrow network options were significantly more satisfied with their health plan versus those who were not offered such an option or did not know whether it was offered.

- The effect of payer-provider alliances is mixed: Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, and many other providers have begun to offer commercial products in collaboration with specific providers in the past few years. Partnerships vary from less integrated contractual agreements to highly integrated health system purchases. J.D. Power found mixed results when it examined member satisfaction with the plans in instances when members are being served by providers that are a part of a collaborative care model. Expected improvements in satisfaction related to relationship with the physician were seen in some areas but not in others.

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