Kaiser Permanente's Medicare Website Recognized as Benchmark for Excellence

Highest certification score awarded for second consecutive year

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan website, kp.org/medicare, received MedicareWebWatch certification, and scored the highest rating among 137 Medicare Advantage websites nationwide for a second consecutive year, according to independent research firm, HealthMetrix Research Inc. The websites are rated for excellence in content, member connectivity, design and privacy assurance.

The Kaiser Permanente Medicare plan website, which received more than one million visits in 2011, educates Medicare beneficiaries about the four parts of Medicare (Parts A, B, C and D), outlines eligibility requirements, and clearly illustrates cost and coverage options. Eligible customers, when they are ready, also can enroll in Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plan directly from the website.

"The MedicareWebWatch certification validates Kaiser Permanente's commitment to informing seniors about their Medicare plan options, particularly as more seniors turn to our Medicare website for information," said Herman Weil, senior vice president, Kaiser Permanente Medicare program. "Our website is especially important right now as beneficiaries learn about Medicare's new Special Enrollment Period for plans rated 5 stars for excellence by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services."

Kaiser Permanente's California, Northwest, Colorado and Hawaii regions are all rated 5 stars for 2012 for excellence in five categories by CMS. Those categories are preventive care, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service and pharmacy benefits.

"Seniors in Kaiser Permanente's 5-star plans' service areas can enroll on kp.org/medicare without waiting for open enrollment in the fall," Weil said. "They must meet certain criteria and reside in a service area where a Kaiser Permanente 5-star plan is offered."

More and more Medicare beneficiaries are using Kaiser Permanente's convenient online enrollment feature. Self-service online enrollments grew by 138 percent during the 2011 annual enrollment period from October 15 through December 7.

"Our Medicare members are active Internet users and appreciate the ease of both online enrollment and Kaiser Permanente's personal health record, My Health Manager on kp.org, which they can use once they become members," said Anna-Lisa Silvestre, vice president, Kaiser Permanente online services. "In fact, more than half of Kaiser Permanente's Medicare beneficiaries have already registered on kp.org. Of those, 60 percent are over the age of 70."

Through My Health Manager, Kaiser Permanente Medicare members can securely email their doctors, check lab results, make appointments, refill prescriptions, and learn about their health concerns, anywhere, any time.

Richard Miller, 76, has been a Kaiser Permanente member for more than 30 years. He has a heart condition and uses kp.org from his smartphone to check his blood test results, refill prescriptions and email his doctor when needed. Hear what he has to say about securely accessing his health information online:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X2TScrr-ok&feature=youtu.be

"Given the increasing necessity for Medicare Advantage plans to communicate detailed information and execute transactions via the internet, plan websites must provide a high-value, positive experience for plan members, caregivers and guests," said HealthMetrix Research Inc. President Alan Mittermaier. "Kaiser Permanente was chosen for MedicareWebWatch certification based on the high relevance and readiness of its Medicare Advantage website. HealthMetrix Research is pleased to recognize Kaiser Permanente for its outstanding preparedness as members navigate changes to the Medicare Advantage program."

Kaiser Permanente currently provides care to more than 1 million Medicare members in nine states and the District of Columbia, and leads the nation among Medicare health plans according to the 2011 National Committee for Quality Assurance's Quality CompassĀ®. Seniors can learn more about the 5-star Special Enrollment Period and the Medicare Star Quality Ratings from Kaiser Permanente by visiting kp.org/medicare, kp.org/medicarestars or calling 1-855-817-5831. CMS also offers details on its website, medicare.gov, and at the toll-free number 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Plan performance summary star ratings are assessed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services each year and may change from one year to the next. Kaiser Permanente's Northwest region includes Oregon and Washington.

About MedicareWebWatch
MedicareWebWatch certification is based on HealthMetrix Research's methodology that addresses 50 website features related to: plan-specific content; external content resources; member connectivity; design and navigation; privacy and security. Certification details are available at www.MedicareWebWatch.com. HealthMetrix Research Inc. neither recommends nor endorses specific Medicare plans or products.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/newscenter.

For more information, contact:
Diana Yee, 510-271-6671, [email protected]

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente