J.D. Power and Associates releases an annual study assessing the nation’s health insurance plans based on numerous factors. The best part is, the study is conducted among actual plan members, hence the name U.S. Member Health Plan Study. This is an essential tool for consumers when looking for a health insurer, similar to looking at a company’s number of complaints, but takes a more detailed and exhaustive review than just summarizing a company’s complaint index. This study took seven factors into consideration, which were:
- Coverage and benefits
- Provider selection
- Claims processing
- Customer service
- Information and communication
- Approval processes
Colorado was one of 17 regions evaluated for private health insurance, and like other states where Kaiser Permanente provides their highly recommended HMO coverage, theirs was the leading plan in the state. The study used a 1,000 point scale for rating companies between each of the mentioned factors. Kaiser performed well in nearly every category, with coverage/benefits and information/communication especially standing out. They received a score of 692, which was the best in the state. The Colorado regional average satisfaction score was 682, which is 20 points lower than the 17-region average. Coloradans are therefore slightly less content with their coverage than those in other areas, but they still have a few good options, including Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare, which ranked just under the regional average at 681.
Interestingly, UnitedHealthcare did not perform well in most other regions, though they were second-best in Colorado. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado, though close behind the other carriers, is in last place with a rating of 676. J.D. Power and Associates gives them two “Power Circles” for being “the rest,” or below average on many levels. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was given five Power Circles for being “among the best,” however. Both Aetna and UnitedHealthcare were given ratings that prove their members are more content than a majority of policyholders. Aetna no longer sells individual coverage in Colorado, however, so they can be eliminated from the picture. Given the closeness of rankings among all companies, it seems with a few exceptions, Colorado health plans are fairly similar. Kaiser plans clearly made more policyholders happy in 2012 than the others, and has more redeeming qualities overall (and we agree).
1. J.D. Power and Associates. ” 2012 U.S. Member Health Plan Study”. http://www.jdpower.com/content/press-release/8UhZWgn/2012-u-s-member-health-plan-study.htm.