Obtain customer satisfaction with clarity, communications

As insurers prepare to compete in a new consumer-oriented healthcare market, they must deliver clarity early on in the consumer journey, according to a new survey by Siegel+Gale, sent via email to FierceHealthPayer.

The survey involved 1,000 individuals covered by the five biggest health insurance brands, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, WellPoint, UnitedHealth and Cigna and found experiences related to clarity and ease of use have the greatest potential to affect customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Moreover, pre-/open enrollment and enrollment experiences have the greatest effect on customers' likelihood to recommend an insurer (24 percent and 19 percent, respectively). And within pre-/open enrollment, insurers that clarify coverage descriptions and simplify pre-enrollment materials will likely increase customer satisfaction, the survey found.

In addition, the odds of consumer recommendations increase if consumers have used their health insurance multiple times in the past year.

To achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty, insurers also need to improve their communications about coverage offerings and materials. Within the last year, about 1 percent of respondents couldn't recall whether they received ID cards, 10 percent didn't know if they got a welcome packet or an explanation of benefits, 14 percent don't know if they received coverage documentation and 36 percent are unsure whether their insurer offers wellness and disease management services.

The survey also found that of the five insurers, Kaiser Permanente had the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS)--how willing its customers are to refer the company--of 32.3. Kaiser had the highest satisfaction scores for pre-/open enrollment, coverage documentation, finding a doctor and call center. Kaiser's happiest customers happiest cited the quality of doctors as a main driver to recommend the company.

Meanwhile, WellPoint received the highest satisfaction score on the most brand experiences (five of 13)--welcome packet, medical cost estimator, claims processing, explanation of benefits, online claims--although the insurer only earned a 13.9 NPS.

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