Kaiser Foundation Health Plan is the highest-ranked Medicare Advantage plan based on overall satisfaction, and Centene is the lowest of the 10 plans, a study released today found. The report is from JD Power, a consumer research, data and analytics firm.
The annual survey, now in its eighth year, measures member satisfaction across six factors: coverage and benefits, provider choice, price, customer service, information and communication, billing and payment. The report is based on responses from 3,094 members of MA plans between May and July.
The industry average for customer satisfaction reached 809 on a 1,000-point scale in 2022, up three points from 2021 and up 15 points over the past five years. Kaiser has 844 points. Humana is in second place with 824 points, and Highmark is in third place with 811. Centene, in last place, has 773 points.
These rankings are relatively similar to last year’s report: Kaiser was first with 846 points and Highmark was second with 834 points. Humana was tied for third with Cigna with 822 points. Centene was still last with 769 points.
While overall customer satisfaction with MA plans has increased over the past year, there are still some areas where plans fall short, including mental health and substance abuse services, JD Power said. Only 38% of Medicare Advantage members said they had enough mental health coverage. For substance use disorder services, only 27% said they had enough coverage.
“For some health plans, coverage may be enhanced,” said Christopher Lees, managing director of global health intelligence at JD Power, in a media release. “For others, increasing customer understanding of mental health benefits may be the bigger opportunity, as beneficiaries may be aware that there is some coverage but may not fully understand which services and drugs are covered.” But coverage doesn’t always guarantee access, as finding providers who accept Medicare can be challenging in some areas.
Lis proposed a four-step approach to improving these services. First, health plans can increase member engagement so that patients are aware of all available support services. Second, plans can work to expand the number of mental health professionals who are in network. Third, patients with severe illness should be prioritized for timely personal treatment with the appropriate specialists. Finally, plans should implement better ways to care for patients with milder conditions, such as through telehealth or app-based services.
“With this kind of multi-tiered approach, we can focus the right resources on the right patients, thereby limiting the burden on mental health professionals and minimizing long waiting times for patients with urgent mental health needs,” he said.
Other findings in the study:
- Satisfaction with substance use and mental health coverage was a stark contrast from members who said they had enough coverage for routine diagnostics, at 91%, and those who said they had enough for preventive and wellness services, at 89%.
- Although users have positive experiences with telemedicine, use has declined among MA members. Only 24% of them have used telemedicine in the past year, compared to 35% in 2021. However, of those who have used it, 48% say they would use it again, up 5 percentage points from last year .
- Portals are gaining in popularity, with 82% of MA members signed up for their health plan’s member portal, up four percentage points from last year. However, 14% of this group registered but never logged in.
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