June 24, 2024

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J.D. Power: Digital health insurance channels lack engagement

3 min read

Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

In an illustration of how difficult it can be to navigate digital health insurance channels, the inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Healthcare Digital Experience Study has found that 42% of insured adults say they’ve experienced a problem using their health insurance website and/or app over the past 12 months. And the websites and digital apps provided by commercial member health plans and Medicare Advantage plans are not meeting foundational levels of functionality, according to the study.

In fact, nearly one-third (32%) of health insurance websites and apps don’t meet the level for “intuitive organization of information,” according to J.D. Power.

The study evaluates customer interaction with their health plans via digital channels and examines the functional aspects of desktop, mobile web and mobile apps based on five factors: visual appeal, information/content, navigation, speed and telehealth.

It’s conducted in collaboration with Corporate Insight, a provider of competitive intelligence and user experience research to the financial services and healthcare industries.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT?

The health insurance digital experience is lagging behind P&C, or Property and Casualty insurance, the study found. On average, the overall digital experience customer satisfaction score among commercial member health plans is 646 (on a 1,000-point scale), and 629 among Medicare Advantage plans. 

That compares with an average satisfaction score of 700 among P&C insurers, 718 among self-directed wealth management apps and websites and 685 among retirement plans.

Nearly one-third of digital properties fail on basic functions. When it comes to the absolute basics of the digital experience (such as overall digital functionality, logical organization of information and visual appeal), 32% of the digital commercial member health plan and Medicare Advantage plan properties evaluated miss the mark. 

Just 21% of the digital properties evaluated satisfied all criteria for high-functioning digital solutions, such as clearly explaining coverage and usage; providing information on deductibles and out-of-pocket spend; and offering urgent telehealth services.

Meanwhile, digital experience was linked to employer satisfaction and intent to renew. Among commercial member health plans that have overall satisfaction scores of 801 or higher, 53% of members are likely to have a much more positive impression of their employer. Among Medicare Advantage plans that have overall satisfaction scores of 801 or higher, 89% of members say they “definitely will” renew with their current plan.

The study, fielded from October through December 2023, is based on evaluations from 5,590 members of the 14 largest Medicare Advantage plans and 15 largest commercial member health plans in the U.S.

THE LARGER TREND

Michael Ellison, president of Corporate Insight, said digital consumer channels are critical for health insurers since it affects not only customer satisfaction with the insurer but also with their employer.

“Yet, many insurers still have a long way to go when it comes to building highly functional digital solutions,” he said.” While we see an up-tick in redesigns and more frequent website content upgrades and updates, health insurers still have a lot of work to do to get to a level of usability that’s comparable to property and casualty insurer digital channels.”

ON THE RECORD

“Healthcare can learn from other industries in relation to leveraging digital to transform the customer experience,” said Christopher Lis, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power. “World-class healthcare organizations are looking to banking, finance, retail and hospitality, among other industries, to gain insight into best practices to create excellence in omnichannel digital transformation. When healthcare is compared with other sectors, many lessons can be learned and integrated into the journey toward transformation.”
 

Jeff Lagasse is editor of Healthcare Finance News.
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare Finance News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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