It’s commonly thought that employees are increasingly dissatisfied with their healthcare plan, but a new survey suggests this may not be the case. The J.D. Power 2019 Commercial Member Health Plan Study asked nearly 29,000 commercial health plan members in 22 regions in the United States about their experience and member engagement in 147 health plans. The survey explored six key member satisfaction factors: (i) coverage and benefits; (ii) customer service; (iii) provider choice; (iv) cost; (v) information and communication; and (vi) billing and payment.
Highlights From The Study:
- Health plan satisfaction is up. On a scale of 1 to 1,000, members said their satisfaction was 713, an increase of 7 points in the last three years. The increased satisfaction is due to the coverage and benefits those health plans offered. Those two factors account for 25% of total health plan member satisfaction scores.
- One area that did not see satisfaction increases was co-pays. Members were not happy with the high co-pays for doctor visits. When members feel their health plan is trying to save them money by keeping out-of-pocket expenses low, they were more satisfied, having an increase of 254 points in the survey. However, less than 50% of respondents felt their health plans accomplished that goal.
- The second area members were dissatisfied was mobile apps. As consumers, members expect similar experiences with easy-to-use technology that they get in with other industries, such as retail.
- Members are interested in alternative treatment channels. Almost half (48%) of health plan member say they would consider telehealth, urgent care, and/or retail clinics to meet their health needs. This percentage increased to 51% when Generation Y plan members were surveyed.
- Members want better coordination of care between different providers within the same network for lower out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays.
The survey results are encouraging but indicate there is more work to be done. With the rise of high deductible health plans (HDHPs), deductibles are making out-of-pocket expenses a growing concern. In 2018, 70% of large companies offered an HDHP—either as in addition to a standard health plan or as a replacement for traditional coverage.
As more companies shift to HDHPs, employees are beginning to approach health care from a consumer perspective. In addition to getting the most efficient health plan to meet their needs, they are also looking at ways to improve their health, as another way to decrease their medical costs.
This focus on health presents an opportunity for companies to help employees have more control of their out of pocket expenses. Since HSAs are a benefit afforded to individuals with a HDHP, employers can provide HSA contributions as an incentive for participation in a wellness program, helping members engage with their health and lower the financial burden of a high deductible at the same time.