Study: Access to care coordination drives members’ satisfaction with health plans

Health insurance benefits form
Health plan members with access to coordinated care were more satisfied with their insurance, J.D. Power reports. Photo credit: Getty/michaelquirk

Health plan members are more satisfied with their insurance plans when providers coordinate their healthcare, according to a new report.

J.D. Power and Associates found care coordination was the most important factor influencing member satisfaction, because it allows for easy access to doctors, but that coordination of care is lacking in most cases. A quarter of people surveyed reported that they had received coordinated care through their health plan.

RELATED: Payer and provider executives talk about breaking down the historical barriers to collaboration

The findings suggest that the future of healthcare may lie in how payers and providers coordinate with one another, Valerie Monet, senior director of U.S. insurance operations at J.D. Power, said in an announcement.

“Amidst sweeping changes in healthcare delivery and payment models, our data is showing that the one thing consumers value most is clear-cut, easy access to doctors and other healthcare providers,” she said. “This puts health insurers in a unique position because so much of their perceived value is reliant upon positive interactions with providers.”

Related: Customers more satisfied where health plan competition is higher

J.D. power looked at 168 plans across 22 states for its study. In line with member’s interest in coordinated care, the highest-performing plans in the report were those in integrated delivery systems. Those plans outperformed other insurers in every category, according to the report.

The most favored is Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which ranked highest in six regions across the study.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • People in low-cost plans with narrow networks also reported higher satisfaction, though a limited care network can potentially cause friction with plan members. Despite this, just 33% reported that their plan offered them a narrow network option.
  • Payer-provider alliances have mixed payoff for member satisfaction. Improvements in satisfaction were seen in some areas but not in others, according to the report. This suggests there is still ample room to give members a better idea of how their plans work and what is covered.