Consumer Satisfaction in Medicare Advantage Plans Rising

July 9, 2019

While scores are going up, there is still room for improvement.

As Medicare Advantage plans grow in popularity, consumers are slowly becoming more satisfied with them-but more work is needed, especially when it comes to communications.

That’s according to a recent study from J.D. Power on customer satisfaction in Medicare Advantage plans. The annual Medicare Advantage study, now in its fifth year, found that customer satisfaction is up slightly in 2019-up one point on its 1,000-point scale to 795 this year.

HMOs received overall higher scores (804) compared to PPOs (794). However, this gap is narrowing-in 2017, HMOs scored 810 versus the PPO score of 790.

The Kaiser Foundation Health Plan ranked highest in customer satisfaction with 833 points on the 1,000-point scale, followed by Highmark (818) and Humana (803). The lowest scores of the plans surveyed came from BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota (769) and BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan (762).

Related: Consumer Interest In Medicare Advantage Plans Remains High

“Approximately 10,000 people turn 65 every day in America and many are choosing Medicare Advantage plans helping private plan membership grow nearly 10% between 2018 and 2019,” said James Beem, managing director, Global Healthcare Intelligence at J.D. Power, in a release. “That’s 1.6 million beneficiaries being added to a relatively small number of health plans in a very short time frame. Even though health plans have been delivering a remarkably consistent customer experience, there is still room for improvement in the form of lowering costs for seniors, proactive communication around explanation of benefits, and helping members coordinate healthcare.”

Unsurprisingly, the study found that cost was the number one reason for switching plans and the satisfaction scores for consumers whose only reason for switching for cost-related reasons were low, just 777. However, for consumers who switched plans for both cost- and non-cost-related related reasons, scores were higher at 808.

Beside cost, the lowest scores for plans came from information and communication. Fewer than 9% of respondents said they experience all three of the study’s key performance indicators for effective communication.